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Sine, Cosine, Tangent Ratios

Practice writing the ratios

Video Tutorial

How to write sohcahtoa ratios, given side lengths

What do we mean by 'ratio' of sides?

Sine, cosine and tangent of an angle represent the ratios that are always true for given angles. Remember these ratios only apply to right triangles.

The 3 triangles pictured below illustrate this.

Diagram 1
Diagram of Sine Ratios

Although the side lengths are different , each one has a 37° angle, and as you can see, the sine of 37 is always the same!

In other words, $$sin(\red { 37^{\circ} } )$$ is always $$ \red {.6 } $$ .

(Note: I rounded to the nearest tenth) That's, of course, why we can use a calculator to find these sine, cosine and tangent ratios.

Practice Problems

Problem 1
Diagram 2
sohcahtoa
Step 1

In the diagram 2, what side is adjacent to $$\angle L$$?

$$ \overline{ML} $$.

Step 2

What side is the hypotenuse?

$$ \overline{ LN} $$

Step 3

Calculate $$cos(\angle L)$$.

Use sochcahtoa to help remember the ratio.

$ cos(\angle \red L) = \frac{adjacent}{hypot} \\ cos(\angle \red L) = \frac{8}{10} \\ = .8 $

Step 4

Calculate $$ cos(\angle N)$$ (a different angle from prior question, look carefully at letters).

$ cos(\angle \red N) = \frac{6}{10} \\ = .6 $

Problem 2

What is the sine ratio of $$\angle C$$ ?

sohcahtoa

Remember the sine ratio

$ sin(\angle C) =\frac{\text{opp } }{ hypot} \\ sin(\angle C) = \frac{6}{10} \\ sin(\angle C) = \frac{6}{10} \\ sin(\angle C) = .6 $

Problem 3

What is the cosine ratio of $$\angle C $$ in $$ \triangle ABC$$ ?

sohcahtoa

Remember the cosine ratio

$ cos(\angle C) =\frac{\text{adj } }{ hypot} \\ cos(C) = \frac{4}{5} \\ cos(C) = .8 $

Problem 4

What is the tangent ratio of $$\angle A$$ ?

sohcahtoa

Use sochcahtoa to help remember the ratio.

$ tan(A) = \frac{opposite}{adjacent} \\ = \frac{24}{7} \\= 3.42857142 $

Problem 5

Find the sine, cosine and tangent of $$\angle R$$.

sohcahtoa

Use sochcahtoa to help remember the ratios.

$$ \text{ for } \angle \red R \\ \boxed { Sine } \\ sin(\red R )= \frac{opp}{hyp} \\ sin(\red R )= \frac{12}{13} \\ sin(\red R )= .923 \\ \boxed{ cosine } \\ cos(\red R)= \frac{adj}{hyp} \\ cos(\red R)= \frac{9}{13} = \\ cos(\red R).69 \\ \boxed{ tangent } \\ tan(\red R)= \frac{opp}{adj} \\ tan(\red R) = \frac{12}{9} \\ tan(\red R)= 1.3 $$

Problem 6

What is $$sin(\angle X)$$?

sohcahtoa

$$ sin(\red X ) = \frac{opp}{hyp} \\ sin(\red X ) = \frac{24}{25} \\ sin(\red X ) = .96 $$

Problem 7

What is $$cos(\angle X)$$?

sohcahtoa

$$ sin(\red X) = \frac{adj}{hyp} \\ sin(\red X) = \frac{7}{25} \\ sin(\red X) = .28 $$

Problem 8

Calculate : $$\text{ a) } sin(\angle H) \\ \text{ b) }cos(\angle H) \\ \text{ c) } tan(\angle H)$$

sohcahtoa

$$ sin(\angle \red H) = \frac{3}{5} \\ sin( \angle \red H) = .6 \\ cos(\angle \red H) =\frac{ 4}{5} \\ cos (\angle \red H)= .8 \\ tan(\angle \red H) = \frac{3}{4} \\ tan(\angle \red H)= .75 $$

Practice Problems II

Problem 9

Which angle below has a tangent ratio of $$\frac{3}{4}$$?

sohcahtoa
Diagram A
sohcahtoa
Diagram B
sohcahtoa

Use sochcahtoa to help remember the ratio for tangent.

$$ tangent = \frac{opp}{adj} $$

So which angle has a tangent that is equivalent to $$\frac{3}{4}$$?

You only have 2 options. Either $$\angle L$$ or $$ \angle K $$. So let's calculate the tangent for each angle.

$ tan( \angle K) = \frac{12}{9} \\ \frac{12}{9} \red {\ne} \frac 3 4 $

$ tan( \angle L) = \frac{9}{12} \\ \frac{9}{12} = \frac 3 4 $
Problem 10

Which angle below has a cosine of $$\frac{3}{5}$$?

sohcahtoa
Diagram A
sohcahtoa
Diagram B
sohcahtoa

Use sochcahtoa to help remember the ratio for tangent.

$$ cosine = \frac{adj}{hyp} $$

So which angle has a cosine that is equivalent to $$\frac 3 5 $$?

You only have 2 options. Either $$\angle L$$ or $$ \angle K $$. So let's calculate the tangent for each angle.

$ cos( \angle K) = \frac{9}{15} \\ \frac{9}{15} \red {\ne} \frac 3 4 $

$ cos(L) = \frac{12}{15} \\ \frac{12}{15} = \frac 3 5 $
Problem 11

Which angle below has a tangent $$\approx$$ .29167?

sohcahtoa

This is a little trickier because you are given the ratio as a decimal; however, you only have two options. Either $$ \angle A $$ or $$\angle C $$.

$$ tan(\angle A) = \frac{48}{14} \\ tan(\angle A)= 3.42857 $$

$$ tan(\angle C) = \frac{14}{48} \\ tan(\angle C) = .29167 $$
Problem 12

Which angle below has a tangent of 2.4?

sohcahtoa

Again, there are two options (angles R or P), but since your ratio is greater than 1 you might quickly be able to notice that it must be R.

$$ tan(\angle P) = \frac{5}{12} \\ tan(\angle P) = 0. 41666 $$

$$ tan(\angle R) = \frac{12}{5} \\ tan(\angle R) = 2.4 $$

Word Problems

Problem 13

In $$\triangle JKL$$, sin(k) = $$\frac{3}{5} $$, what is tan(k)?

Step 1

It's easiest to do a word problem like this one, by first drawing the triangle and labelling the sides. We know the opposite side of $$ \angle K$$ and we know the hypotenuse.

sine picture

To get the tangent ratio we need to know the length of the adjacent side.

How can we find the length of the adjacent side?

Step 2

Use the Pythagorean theorem!

$$ a^2 + b^2 = c^2 \\ 3^2 + b^2 = 5^2 \\ b^2 = 5^2- 3^2 = 25-9 = 16 \\ b = 4 $$

Now, use the tangent ratio!

Step 3

Use the Pythagorean theorem!

$$ tan(k) = \frac{opposite}{adjacent} \\ tan(k) = \frac{3}{4} $$

sine picture 3
Problem 14

In $$\triangle ABC , cos(b) = \frac{7}{25} $$, what is sin(b)?

Step 1

Draw this triangle and label the sides:

cosine word problem

Remember that the cosine ratio = $$\frac{adjacent}{hypotenuse}$$.

How can we find the length of the opposite side?
(Remember that sine involves the opposite so we need to find that somehow).

Step 2

Use the Pythagorean theorem!

$$ a^2 + b^2 = c^2 \\ 7^2 + b^2 = 25^2 \\ b^2 = 25^2- 7^2 = 625 - 49 = 576 \\ b = \sqrt{576} =24 $$

Now, use the sine ratio!

Step 3

$$ sin(b) = \frac{opposite}{hypotenuse} $$

cosine
top | Practice I | Practice II | Word Problems | #Challenge Problem
Challenge Problem
challenge problem

Be careful!
In the triangle below, which angle has a sine ratio of 2.6?


pick angle

There is no angle that has a sine of 2.6.

Remember that the maximum value of the sine ratio is 1.

The same, is true, by the way of cosine ratio (max value is 1).


Back to SOHCAHTOA Side lengths Next to SOHCAHTOA to find side lengths