Main content

## Algebra (all content)

### Course: Algebra (all content) > Unit 13

Lesson 12: Rational inequalities# Rational inequalities: both sides are not zero

Sal solves the rational inequality (x-3)/(x+4)≥2. Created by Sal Khan.

## Want to join the conversation?

- In the previous Rational Inequalities video the solution was x>1 and x<-2. Why is that a valid answer while the first example in this video ( x>-4 and x<-11 ) is NOT a valid answer?(15 votes)
- Hello Cyrus,

I can see that your confusion is with the *"and"* and *"or"*.

If there is a word *"and"* then you must see if they have common numbers: if they don't have, then the solution is invalid.

If there is a word "or" then you don't need to determine if they have common numbers.(19 votes)

- This is really helpful. However, how you would go about in solving (x+1)(x+3) / x-1 > 0 ?

I tried solving using the method Khan uses:

The numerator and denominator can be either both positive or negative.

When they are both positive:

x+1>0 ---- x>-1

x+3>0 ---- x>-3

x-1>0 ---- x>1

So x>1 satifies this situation.

When they are both negative:

x<-1

X<-3

x<1

So x<-3 satifies this approach.

So x could either be x>1 or x<-3. However, this is not the answer. The answer is -3<x<-1 OR x>1(6 votes)- Thanks for answering :).

You say "Since (x + 3) will always be greater than (x + 1), it will have to positive, and (x + 1) will have to be negative."

Why is that?(6 votes)

- At6:55Sal says the second method only works when a/b > 0 and then rearranges the equation as so. Why does this only work when one side of the inequality is a zero? Surely in the original problem a/b > 2 the same logic applies, both a and b must be positive or negative to reach a number greater than 2?(4 votes)
- It is because inequalities have to have zero to balance the equation.(3 votes)

- I'm not quite sure why the inequality was swapped at04:12? I understand that when you divide by a negative this is done but I don't see the negative-- is there a video that goes over this?

Thanks in advanced(4 votes)- If x < -4,

When we multiply the inequality by (x + 4), we are actually multiplying the inequality by a negative number.

How? ...

When we assume x < -4 then the greatest value that can be attributed to x is -5. Substituting we have: (x + 4) ---> (-5 + 4) = -1

We are multiplying the inequality by a negative number.

Hope this helps!(3 votes)

- I am taking a Pre-Calc class and the process they give to solve Polynomial and Rational inequalities is totally different from both of these ways. They have us find the zeros and take sections of the number line around those. Then create a table and determine which are positive and which are negative. Does any one know what I'm talking about and give some tips on this?(2 votes)
- I see that your question is about a year old. Yes - I call this a sign chart. The focus is on the zeros and asymptotes and the questions is what makes something positive or negative. I haven't found that method explained yet on KA but that's what I'm most familiar with.(5 votes)

- This is Rational Inequalities 2... Where is Rational Inequalities 1?(2 votes)
- I guess they haven't put it up on the site, here is the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjeMdXV0QMg(6 votes)

- I don't understand why x+4 can't be less than OR equal to. Why is it just less than?(0 votes)
- Hi - the reason that x+4 cannot be equal to zero is that it will make the equation undefined as you cannot have the denominator equal to zero to create either a m/0 situation (where m is a number not equal to zero at the same value of x).(7 votes)

- Please help me in solving this inequality..

Use sign chart to solve it..

x^2 + 4 over 2x^2 -18 is greater than 0

It has complex roots. So ia cant understand how to use these rooys in sign chart..(2 votes)- Very good question!

What happens if you have a vertical assymptote? Could a function go from negative to positive? Think about something like the tangent function. Given that, does your function have assymptotes? Where? What are the values of the function around these?(2 votes)

- Where's the first part of the video? I know there is one because at0:03he references it, but I can't seem to find it...(1 vote)
- I can't seem to find the Rational Inequalities 1 Video, where is it or has it been deleted? You refer back to it right from the start.(2 votes)

## Video transcript

Let's tackle a slightly
harder problem than what we saw in the last video. I have here x minus 3
over x plus 4 is greater than or equal to 2. So the reason why this is
slightly harder is I now have a greater than or equal to. And the other thing that makes
it slightly harder is I don't just have a simple 0 here,
I actually have a 2 here. So I'm going to do this
problem the same way. I'm going to do it two ways. I'm going to do the same two
ways we did last time, but I'm going to reverse the order of
the two ways that I do it. So the first thing I can do,
I might be tempted-- let me multiply both sides of this
equation times x plus 4. And like we saw in the last
video we had to be very careful because we have
an inequality here. If x plus 4 is greater than
0 then we're going to keep the inequality the same. If it's less than 0
we're going to swap it. So let's look at those
two situations. So one situation is-- let
me make it right here. One situation is x plus
4 is greater then 0. And remember, it can ever be
equal to 0 because then this expression would be undefined. So let's explore x plus
4 is greater than 0. If we subtract 4 from both
sides of this equation this is equivalent to saying-- these
are equivalent statements. If we subtract 4 from
both sides that x is greater than minus 4. So if we assume that x is
greater than minus 4 then x plus 4 is going to
be greater than 0. And then when we multiply
both sides of this times x plus 4-- let's do that. x minus 3 over x plus 4. You have your 2. We're going to multiply both
sides of this times x plus 4. Since we're assuming x is
greater than minus 4 or that x plus 4 is greater than 0, we
don't have to switch the inequality sign. We're multiplying both
sides by a positive. So the inequality stays
the same as in our original problem. And the whole reason why we
did that is because this and this will cancel out. And then we have 2
times x plus 4. Let's see what we get. x minus 3 is greater than
or equal to 2 times x plus 2 times 4, which is 8. And now what can we do? We can subtract x
from both sides. We get minus 3 is greater
than or equal to x plus 8. I just took x from 2x. And then we can subtract
8 from both sides. So you subtract 8
from both sides. You get minus 3 minus 8
is minus 11 is greater than or equal to x. And of course, then we subtract
an 8 so this guy disappears. So if we assume that x is
greater than minus 4, then x has to be less than
or equal to minus 11. Now that seems a little
bit nonsensical. In order for this statement to
be true, x has to be both greater than minus 4 and it has
to be less than minus 11. Anything greater than
minus 4 is going to be greater than minus 11. So there's no x that
satisfies this equation. So if we assume that x plus 4
is greater than 0, we just end up with a nonsensical solution. So we can actually
ignore that path. There's no situation in which x
plus 4 is going to be greater than 0 and we're going to
actually have a solution to this equation. So let's assume what happens
when x plus 4 is less than 0. I'll do it here. So what happens when x
plus 4 is less than 0? And once again, that's an
equivalent statement. If we subtract 4 from both
sides of this equation to saying that x is
less than minus 4. These are equivalent
statements. So if we assume that x is less
than minus 4, then when we multiply both sides of this
equation times x plus 4 and you're multiplying it by
x minus 3 over x plus 4. And you have your 2 and
you're multiplying that times x plus 4. Since we're taking the other
situation where x is less than minus 4, which makes this
expression negative-- since we're multiplying both sides of
the equation by a negative, we swap the inequality
just like that. And let's see what we get. This and this cancel out. And then we get x minus 3 is
less than or equal to 2 times x plus 2 times 4, which is 8. And we do the same algebra. Let's subtract x
from both sides. We get minus 3 is less than
or equal to x plus 8. If we subtract 8 from both
sides we get minus 11 is less than or equal to x. If we assume this is
negative, we get x has to be less than minus 4. If x is less than minus 4, in
order for this equation to hold up, x also has to be
greater than minus 11. And this is actually possible. You can have an x, so x has
to be-- we can rewrite this-- greater than
or equal to minus 11. I just swapped the two sides. And x has to be
less than minus 4. And there are x's that satisfy
these two constraints. There weren't x's that satisfy
these two constraints. Nothing satisfies both of
these, but there are things that satisfy both of these. For example, minus 5. Let's draw this on
the number line. Let's draw a solution
to this problem. Let me keep the problem there. If I draw a number line,
I want to switch colors. So we have minus 11. We can be greater than
or equal to minus 11. So this is minus 11. And then we have
minus 4 over here. Maybe 0 sitting over there. We have to be less
than minus 4. Remember, we can ever be equal
to minus 4 because that would make this undefined. So we have to be less than
minus 4, so we don't include minus 4. We're less than minus 4,
but we have to be greater than or equal to 11. So we can't go less than
11, but we include the 11 because this is greater
than or equal to. So anything in this, where I've
shaded it in-- anything on this range will satisfy that
equation over there. Now let's do it the other way. Let's do it where we-- the
numerator and denominator both have to be
positive or negative. Let's see if we can do the
same problem that way. So let me rewrite it down
here, maybe in a new color. So the same problem. x minus 3 over x plus 4 is
greater than or equal to 2. Now, in order to do that
reasoning that I did in the first video, remember the first
video I said, well, it's a divided by b is greater than 0. Either both of these are
positive or both of these are negative. But this only worked when
we had a 0 over here. But we don't have a 0 here we
have a 2 so we can't at least immediately do that rationale. But maybe we can if we
subtract 2 from both sides of this equation. So let's do that. So you have x minus 3 over x
plus 4 minus 2 is greater than or equal to 0. Just subtract a 2
from both sides. I can add or subtract without
messing up the inequality. Never have to worry about that. It's only when you multiply
by negatives that you swap the inequality. And now, what is this? You know, this doesn't look
like a rational expression. But I can rewrite
minus 2, right? Minus 2 is the same thing
as minus 2 times x plus 4 over x plus 4. This is minus 2 times 1. This is the same thing. And this is the same
thing as minus 2x plus-- let me be careful. This is the same thing as minus
2x minus 8 over x plus 4. This right here is the exact
same thing as minus 2. I just multiply it times
x plus 4 for x plus 4. Let's write it this way
because then we can add them. So if we write that way, so I
have x minus 3 over x plus 4. And I wrote it that way so I
have a common denominator. And then I have plus minus
2x minus 8 over x plus 4 is greater than 0. I have a common denominator. That was my whole
point of doing this. And so I have a denominator of
x plus 4 and then when you add these two things you
get x minus 2x. That's a minus x. And then you have minus 3
minus 8-- that's minus 11-- is greater than 0. So now I simplify the problem
into something like this. So there's two situations. Oh, let me be very careful. This was greater than or equal. This must be greater
than or equal. Don't want to lose that
little equal sign. That was the whole
point of this problem. So now I'm ready to
operate just like this. Actually, before I even
do this, let's get one thing out of the way. Let's be very clear. x can never be
equal to minus 4. Because if x is equal to minus
4, this whole statement-- that original problem is undefined. So let's just write that first. You know, we could have
written that from the get-go. x cannot be equal to minus
4, for any solution. That will make this
expression undefined. Now, we have this and we saw in
the first video and we saw right there that there's
two situations. Either both of these
are positive. So they're either both
positive, so minus x minus 11 is greater than or equal to 0. This could be equal to 0. Actually, if this is equal
to 0, then this whole thing is going to be true. So either that is greater than
or equal to 0 and this right here is greater than 0. It can't be equal to 0. And x plus 4 is greater than 0. That's the situation where
both of them are positive. Or they're both going
to be less than 0. And I'm running out of space. Or minus x minus 11 is
less than or equal to 0. And-- I'll write and like that. And x plus 4 is less than 0. Remember, it can't
ever equal 0. So they're either both
positive or both negative. That's the only way they we're
going to get something. Well, the numerator can be
equal to 0 because this thing can equal 0. Or they're both positive to
get something positive. Or they're both negative, so
that when you divide a negative by a negative you still
get something positive. So let's look at these two
situations and see if we get any solutions that make sense. So right here, if we add x to
both sides of this equation we get minus 11 is greater
than or equal to x. Or another way you could
say it, is x is less than or equal to minus 11. I just swapped these two sides. And then here, if we add minus
4-- if we subtract 4 from both sides we get x is
greater than minus 4. But once again, this
makes no sense. There's no way that I
can have-- remember there's an and here. Both of these have to be true. There's no x that is
greater than minus 4 and less than minus 11. So this right here,
there's no constraints. So both of these can never be--
both the numerator and the denominator can never both be
positive at the same time because in order for them both
to be positive you get an impossible constraint to fill. So let's look at the situation. The other situation is when
they are both negative. When both this numerator
and this denominator are both negative. Let me be clear. You can't make a statement
about these two not being positive. These two things can
ever be positive. Remember, because we had to get
the 0 here in order to use this logic to begin with. So the fact that when we tried
to figure out x's that would make both of these positive, we
got a nonsensical, impossible to fill constraint, tells me
that both this numerator and this denominator can never both
be positive for any given x. Now let's see if they
can both be negative. So for both of them to be
negative or the numerator could also be equal to 0. If we add x to both sides
of this we get minus 11 is less than or equal to x. Or we could say that x is
greater than or equal to minus 11 just swapping around. Over here, if we subtract
4 from both sides we have x is less than minus 4. And-- and this is an and. So x has to be greater than or
equal to minus 11 or less than minus 4, which is exactly what
we came up in the last problem. I can draw the
number line again. We have to be greater than
or equal to minus 11. So that's minus 11 there. We could be equal to it or
greater than, but we have to be less than minus 4. So this is minus 4. We can't even be equal to minus
4, that'll make our denominator undefined or our whole
equation undefined. It will make our denominator 0. And so this is our
solution set. Anything right here that I've
shaded in, including minus 11, but not including minus 4. So if you could get this
problem I think you can handle pretty much any rational
equation problem. Hope you enjoyed that.