A question about proportionality

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a.s.h.
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Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:50 pm

A question about proportionality

Post by a.s.h. » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:34 am

If I say that "y is proportional to x", does that mean y = kx (where k is a non-zero constant)?

Or would I strictly need to say "y is directly proportional to x" to mean y = kx?

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joe
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Re: A question about proportionality

Post by joe » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:27 pm

Good question! Is there a difference between 'proportional' and 'directly proportional'?

Thinking about the way I use it, my answer is this:
y proportional to x means y = kx, k constant, as you say.
y inversely proportional to x means y = k/x.

I think that I only ever say 'directly proportional' when I want to distinguish it from inverse proportionality: 'y is inversely proportional to x but directly proportional to z', i.e. y = kz/x.

Joe

a.s.h.
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:50 pm

Re: A question about proportionality

Post by a.s.h. » Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:42 pm

I see, thanks.

Yes, that is also how I see it. I think personally it's redundant to have "directly" proportional, unless one wants to emphasise between inversely proportional, as you said.

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