Sine, Co-sine, and Tangent: SOHCAHTOADate: 03/28/99 at 19:28:47 From: Angie Subject: Sine, co-sine, and tangent I am having trouble figuring out what to use when you are solving a problem; sine, co-sine or tangent. I know that you use SOHCAHTOA but how is that suppose to help me? Thank you, Angie K. Lago Vista, TX Date: 03/29/99 at 09:02:23 From: Doctor Rick Subject: Re: Sine, co-sine, and tangent Hi, Angie, welcome to Ask Dr. Math! The basic problems of trigonometry involve 3 quantities of a right triangle: 2 sides and an angle. Look at where the sides are with respect to the angle. Use SINE if one is the leg Opposite the angle and the other is the Hypotenuse. (SOH) Use COSINE if one is the leg Adjacent to the angle and the other is the Hypotenuse. (CAH) Use TANGENT if one is the Opposite leg and the other is the Adjacent leg. (TOA) Actually, in a right triangle, if you know one of the angles besides the right angle, you can find the other angle, too (what is it?). Therefore you could use the cosine of the other angle instead of the sine of the given angle, for instance; they are equal. (In fact, COSINE means "SINE of the complement," which is what the other angle is. The same is true of the COTANGENT.) Once you know which trig function to use, you will have an equation relating the 3 quantities, such as B /| / | c / | / | a sin(A) = a/c / | /_____| A b C One of the 3 quantities will be an unknown; solve for it. For instance, if you know that angle A = 60 degrees and side a = 5 inches, then sin(60) = 5/c c = 5/sin(60) There are many kinds of trigonometry problems, but this basic type of problem is at the root of all of them. If you are having trouble with a particular kind of problem, give us an example. Show us what you think you are supposed to do to solve it; this will help us understand exactly what you need help with. - Doctor Rick, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
Search the Dr. Math Library: |
[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]
Ask Dr. Math^{TM}
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/