Slope of Straight Line joining Points in Cartesian Plane

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Theorem

Let $p_1 := \tuple {x_1, y_1}$ and $p_2 := \tuple {x_2, y_2}$ be points in a cartesian plane.

Let $\mathcal L$ be the straight line passing through $p_1$ and $p_2$.


Then the slope of $\mathcal L$ is given by:

$\tan \theta = \dfrac {y_2 - y_1} {x_2 - x_1}$

where $\theta$ is the angle made by $\mathcal L$ with the $x$-axis.


Proof

Slope-of-Line-between-Points.png

The slope of a straight line is defined as the change in $y$ divided by the change in $x$.

The change in $y$ from $p_1$ to $p_2$ is $y_2 - y_1$.

The change in $x$ from $p_1$ to $p_2$ is $x_2 - x_1$.

By definition of tangent of $\theta$:

$\tan \theta = \dfrac {y_2 - y_1} {x_2 - x_1}$

Hence the result.

$\blacksquare$


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