## How Do You Evaluate a Function? II

This post about how to evaluate a function is part of a series of posts to help you prepare for the Advanced Algebra and Functions part of the Accuplacer test.

## Question

For the function

what is the value of ?

A.

B.

C.

D.

## Solution

f(x-1) is what you get when you replace x with x-1 in . That is called “evaluating the function for x-1.

### Sidebar: Function Notation

In algebra, usually when you write two things side by side with one of them in parentheses, that means you multiply those two things together:

So no one can blame you for thinking f(x) means f multiplied by x. But math notation, like other kinds of language, has exceptions. f(x) means function f, carried out on x. And f(something else) means function f carried out on something else. For example, say function g is defined as . That means ; ; and means  (whatever * means).

It gets interesting when the parentheses in the function definition contain a function. For example, if  , what is ? Well, we said that if you want to find , you insert * into the function definition. To find , insert  into the function definition: if , then .

So to find f(x-1) in the expression

insert x-1 wherever you see x. You should get: