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How to Recognize Basic Trig Graphs

The graphs of the trig functions have many similarities and many differences. The graphs of the sine and cosine look very much alike, as do the tangent and cotangent, and then the secant and cosecant. But those three groupings look different from one another.

The one characteristic that ties all these functions together is the fact that they’re periodic, meaning they repeat the same curve or pattern over and over again, in either direction along the x-axis. Check out the below figures to see for yourself.

The graph of <i>y</i> = sin <i>x</i>.
The graph of y = sin x.
The graph of <i>y</i> = cos <i>x</i>.
The graph of y = cos x.
The graph of <i>y</i> = tan <i>x</i>.
The graph of y = tan x.
The graph of <i>y</i> = cot <i>x</i>.
The graph of y = cot x.
The graph of <i>y</i> = sec <i>x</i>.
The graph of y = sec x.
The graph of <i>y</i> = csc <i>x</i>.
The graph of y = csc x.
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