 # Proportional Functions

Two variables $x$ and $y$ are proportional if the ratio between them is constant. That means you always get the same answer when you divide $y$ by $x$.

Theory

### ProportionalVariables

Two variables, $x$ and $y$, are proportional if

 $y=kx,$

where $k$ is a constant.

Example 1

Saying that $y=kx$ is the same as saying that $\frac{y}{x}=k$: $\begin{array}{llll}\hfill \frac{y}{x}& =k\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill x×\frac{y}{x}& =k×x\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill y& =kx\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\end{array}$

Proportional functions are actually just a special case of linear functions, $f\left(x\right)=ax+b$. What happened is that $b=0$, so $b$ is gone. This means that the graph intersects the $y$-axis at the origin each time. In addition, the slope $a$ is replaced with the proportionality constant $k$. Here are a few examples:

Example 2

This graph shows $y=x$, that is, $k=1$. Since the graph is proportional, for all the coordinates on the graph, if you divide the $y$-coordinate by the $x$-coordinate, the answer is $k=1$. Example 3

Is the graph $y=\frac{2x}{3}$ proportional?

You can find that out by doing a few conversions: $\begin{array}{llll}\hfill y& =\frac{2x}{3}\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill & =\frac{2×x}{3×1}\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill & =\frac{2}{3}×\frac{x}{1}\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill & \approx 0.67×x\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill & =0.67x.\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\end{array}$

You found out that $k\approx 0.67$ or $k=\frac{2}{3}$, so the graph is proportional.

Example 4

You have been given the following points:

 $x$-values 1 2 3 4 5 $y$-values 7 14 21 28 35

Do the points follow a proportional function?

From the theory, you know that if you divide the $y$-value by the $x$-value, and the answer is the same each time, all points belong to a proportional function. You check the points from the table: $\begin{array}{llll}\hfill \frac{7}{1}& =7\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill \frac{14}{2}& =7\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill \frac{21}{3}& =7\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill \frac{28}{4}& =7\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\\ \hfill \frac{35}{5}& =7\phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}& \hfill & \phantom{\rule{2em}{0ex}}\end{array}$

Because all the answers are the same, you are working with a proportional function. The function is $f\left(x\right)=7x$.