Education
What is reciprocal? Explained with examples.
The reciprocal word is derived from the Latin word “reciprocus” which means returning. Hence if we take the reciprocal of the inverted term then we obtain an original value back. In Mathematics, when are say the reciprocal of a function or a number it means to take the inverse of that number or function.
If we have a number y then the reciprocal of y is 1/y. Remember that y is not equal to zero.
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Definition of Reciprocal
The reciprocal of any physical quantity is one over that quantity. The product of a number and its reciprocal are always unity. If y is a number and 1/y is its reciprocal then y * 1/y = 1.
Generally, it is also called multiplicative inverse. The reciprocal of a number y is denoted as y^{1}. By interchanging the numerator and denominator we find the reciprocal of a given number.
Kinds of reciprocal
 Reciprocal of Zero
The rule of reciprocal does not apply to zero because it gives an undefined answer.
1/0 = Undefined
Except for 0, we can find the reciprocal of all real and complex numbers.
 Reciprocal of a Fraction
The reciprocal of a fraction is just we have to interchange the numerator and denominator. if we have a fraction a/b then its reciprocal is b/a.
Example:
Evaluate for the reciprocal of 10/7.
Solution: We interchange its numerator and denominator
Then the reciprocal is 7/10.
Or using formula
Let y=10/7
The formula of reciprocal (y replaced with 1/y).
Put the value of y in the above formula
1/[10/7] = 7/10
 Reciprocal of Mixed Fraction
For the reciprocal of a mixed fraction, we first convert it into a simple fraction by multiplying the denominator with the whole number and then adding the nominator to the result. After obtaining the simple fraction apply the formula of reciprocal.
Example:
Find the reciprocal of a mixed fraction 5(2/3).
Solution:
Step 1: Change into an Improper fraction.
5(2/3) = 17/3
Step 2: Use the formula now.
1/[17/3] = 3/17
The reciprocal examples can be solved easily with the help of a reciprocal calculator.
 Reciprocal of Whole Number
When the given number is a whole number then the reciprocal of a number is obtained by writing the quantity over one. If y is a whole number, then its reciprocal is 1/y.
Example:
Find the reciprocal of a whole number 9.
Solution:
We just write it over 1.
1/9
So, 1/9 is the reciprocal of 9.
 Reciprocal of a Negative Number
For the reciprocal of a negative number, we just take the reciprocal of a number without a negative sign then the negative sign is put along with the reciprocal of that number. For example, the inverse of –y is 1/y.
Example:
Find the reciprocal of 10.
Solution:
Step 1: First we have to write the given whole number in the improper form by putting denominator 1.
10/1
Step 2: Now interchange the numerator and denominator.
1/10.
Step 3: Add a minus sign () with the resultant value.
1/10
So, the reciprocal of 10 is 1/10.
 Reciprocal of Decimal Number
For the reciprocal of decimal numbers, we first convert it into a fraction if it is possible. Then change the nominator with the denominator. if it is not possible to convert into a fraction then we just put the decimal value over one.
Example:
Find the reciprocal of a decimal value of 1.562
Solution:
Method 1:
By using the formula of reciprocal of a number y is 1/y.
Therefore, 1.562= 1/1.562
Now after simplification of 1/1.562 answer becomes 500/781.
Method 2:
Step 1: Change the given decimal into a fraction.
1.562=1562/1000
Step 2: Now apply the rule of reciprocal of decimal “Interchange the nominator with denominator”.
1000/1562
Step 3: Now simplify the given fraction
500/781
So, the reciprocal of 1.562 is 500/781.
Note: we can check the reciprocal of a given number is right by multiplying the reciprocal with the original number answer always equal to 1.
 Reciprocal of Algebraic Terms
We can also find the reciprocal of algebraic terms just by putting the given algebraic in the denominator of one.
Example:
Find the reciprocal of the algebraic term 2x^2 + 1.
Solution:
By using the rule of reciprocal
1/ (2x^2 + 1)
 Reciprocal of a Function
The reciprocal of a function is just obtained by putting the function f(x) in the denominator of 1.
If f(x) is a function which is not equal to zero then the reciprocal of f(x) is written as 1/ f(x).
Example:
Find the reciprocal of a function f(x) = sin2x
Solution:
Apply the rule of reciprocal of a function f(x) is 1/f(x).
→ 1/ sin2x
Examples of Reciprocal
We go through some more examples of reciprocal.
Example 1:
Find the reciprocal of 2/[3/5]
Solution:
Step 1: Write the formula for reciprocal
1/y where y is the given number.
Step 2: Put the value of y in the formula
1/2/[3/5]
=1 * 3/(2*5)
=3/10
So, the reciprocal of 2/[3/5] is 3/10.
Example 2:
What is the reciprocal of the complex number 2+5i?
Solution:
Step 1: Apply the rule of reciprocal.
1/[2+5i]
The reciprocal of a complex number is similar to the real number.
Importance of Reciprocal
Reciprocal is very useful when we divide a number with a fraction. Actually, we convert the division into multiplication by taking the reciprocal of the fraction after the division sign. We can understand it with an example.
Example:
Solve the given expression 2 / [4/3].
Solution:
Step 1: When a number is divided by a fraction, we take the reciprocal of the given fraction after the division sign.
The reciprocal of 4/3 is 3/4.
Step 2: Multiply the given number to the reciprocal of 4/3.
2 * 3/4
Step 3: Simplify the given expression.
2 * 3/4 =3/2
Summary:
In this article, we have learned about the definition of reciprocal and various rules to find the best solution. Now you can find the reciprocal of any quantity after learning from this post.

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