Lines - Geometry Made Easy answers questions


Number Line
Number Line

July 2016 - A line is made of an infinite number of points that are right next to each other. A line goes on forever in both directions. In geometry, a line is always straight, so that if you know two points on a line, then you know where that line goes. A line is only one point thick (which is to say that it has no thickness, because a point has no thickness). When we mark off certain points on a line, we can use that line as a number line. When we draw a line with a pencil, we make it thick enough to see. But a line in geometry is not thick enough to see, because it is only one point thick. If you looked at a line from the end, it would look just like a point - so it would be invisible.

two perpendicular lines
Perpendicular lines

If you took a line and moved it through space, like sliding a flat ruler across a table, it would create a flat plane. You can create half a line by choosing one point on a line and naming the section of line that goes on from that point. You can also create line segments of any length by choosing two points on a line and naming the section between those two points. We use line segments for many things in geometry: one side of a triangle or a square is a line segment.

Two lines can be parallel to each other, or they can be perpendicular. If two lines are neither parallel nor perpendicular, then they are skew.

More about planes
More about Geometry

Bibliography and further reading about geometry:

More about Geometry
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Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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