Which Of The Following Is A Parent Function


When it comes to understanding functions in mathematics, it is essential to know about parent functions. Parent functions are the simplest form of a mathematical function that serves as a template or base for other related functions. They are fundamental in helping us understand how transformations and modifications affect a function’s graph.

List of Common Parent Functions:

  • Linear Function (f(x) = x)
  • Quadratic Function (f(x) = x^2)
  • Absolute Value Function (f(x) = |x|)
  • Square Root Function (f(x) = sqrt(x))
  • Cubic Function (f(x) = x^3)

Linear Function

A linear function is a function of the form f(x) = mx + b, where m and b are constants. The parent function of a linear equation is f(x) = x. This is the most basic form of a straight line with a slope of 1 and a y-intercept at the origin (0,0).

When we graph a linear function, it forms a straight line that passes through the origin with a slope of 1. Any other linear function with different slopes or y-intercepts can be obtained by applying transformations to this parent function.

Quadratic Function

A quadratic function is a function of the form f(x) = ax^2 + bx + c, where a, b, and c are constants. The parent function of a quadratic equation is f(x) = x^2. This function represents a parabolic curve that opens upwards and has its vertex at the origin (0,0).

Graphing a quadratic function results in a symmetric curve known as a parabola. By adjusting the coefficients a, b, and c, we can shift, stretch, or compress the parabola along the x and y-axes. These transformations are performed on the parent function f(x) = x^2.

Absolute Value Function

An absolute value function is a function of the form f(x) = |x|. The parent function of an absolute value equation is f(x) = |x|. This function represents the distance of a number from zero on the number line, always returning a non-negative value.

The graph of an absolute value function is a V-shaped graph centered at the origin. By applying transformations such as reflections or translations, we can modify the parent function f(x) = |x| to create different absolute value functions.

Square Root Function

A square root function is a function of the form f(x) = sqrt(x). The parent function of a square root equation is f(x) = sqrt(x). This function returns the non-negative square root of a number x, resulting in a curve that starts at the origin and extends to the right.

When graphing a square root function, the curve represents the principal square root function, starting at (0, 0) and extending to the right. Modifications to this function involve shifting or scaling the graph without changing its essential shape.

Cubic Function

A cubic function is a function of the form f(x) = x^3. The parent function of a cubic equation is f(x) = x^3. This function generates a curve that resembles an S-shaped curve with an inflection point at the origin.

Graphing a cubic function results in a curve that exhibits both positive and negative values along the x and y-axes. By applying transformations to the parent function f(x) = x^3, we can alter the shape, position, and orientation of the cubic curve.


In conclusion, understanding parent functions is crucial in mathematics as they provide the foundation for various functions and transformations. By knowing the basic parent functions such as linear, quadratic, absolute value, square root, and cubic functions, we can better comprehend how different alterations affect a function’s behavior and graph.

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