# 2. The Straight Line

## Slope-Intercept Form of a Straight Line

The slope-intercept form (otherwise known as "gradient, *y*-intercept" form) of a line is given by:

y=mx+b

This tells us the slope of the line is *m* and the
*y*-intercept of the line is *b*.

### Example 1

The line *y* =
2*x* + 4 has

- slope `m = 2` and
*y*-intercept `b = 4`.

We do not need to set up a table of values to sketch this line. Starting at the *y*-intercept (`y = 4`), we sketch our line by going up `2` units for each unit we go to the right (since the slope is `2` in this example).

To find the *x*-intercept, we let `y = 0`.

2

x+ 4 = 0`x = -2`

We notice that this is a **function**. That is, each value of
*x* that we have gives one corresponding value of
*y*.

See more on Functions and Graphs.

## Point-Slope Form of a Straight Line

We need other forms of the straight line as well. A useful
form is the **point-slope form** (or point - gradient
form). We use this form when we need to find the equation of a line passing through a point (*x*_{1},* y*_{1}) with slope *m*:

y − y_{1}=m(x−x_{1})

### Example 2

Find the equation
of the line that passes through `(-2, 1)` with slope of `-3`.

## General Form of a Straight Line

### Need Graph Paper?

Another form of the straight line which we come across is
**general form:**

Ax+By+C= 0

It can be useful for drawing lines by finding the
*y*-intercept (put `x = 0`) and the *x*-intercept
(put `y = 0`).

We also use General Form when finding Perpendicular Distance from a Point to a Line.

### Example 3

Draw the line 2*x* +
3*y* + 12 = 0.

### Exercises

1. What is the equation of the line perpendicular to the line joining (4, 2) and (3, -5) and passing through (4, 2)?

[Need a reminder? See the section on Slopes of Perpendicular Lines.]

2. If `4x − ky = 6` and `6x + 3y + 2 = 0` are perpendicular, what is the value of `k`?

### Conic section: Straight line

Each of the lines and curves in this chapter are **conic sections**, which means the curves are formed when we slice a cone at a certain angle.

How can we obtain a straight line from slicing a cone?

We start with a **double cone** (2 right circular cones placed apex to apex):

If we slice the double cone by a plane just touching one edge of the double cone, the intersection is a **straight line**, as shown.

### Search IntMath, blog and Forum

### Online Algebra Solver

This algebra solver can solve a wide range of math problems.

Go to: Online algebra solver

### Math Lessons on DVD

Easy to understand math lessons on DVD. See samples before you commit.

More info: Math videos

### The IntMath Newsletter

Sign up for the free **IntMath Newsletter**. Get math study tips, information, news and updates each fortnight. Join thousands of satisfied students, teachers and parents!