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How do I differentiate implicitly?

The most important thing to remember when differentiating implicitly is that y is a function of x. Rewriting y as y(x) often makes it much clearer. For example, evaluate d/dx (y2): using the aforementioned notation, this becomes d/dx [y(x)]2. By the chain rule, it is easy to see that this is equal to dy/dx * 2y.

Perhaps an easier way of remembering this is to differentiate with respect to y, then multiply by dy/dx. For example, evaluate d/dx(ln(y)): to find the answer, we differentiate ln(y) with respect to y to get 1/y, then multiply this by dy/dx to get dy/dx * 1/y.

The above method works because of the chain rule, which states that df/dx = df/dy * dy/dx. All we are doing is renaming the function as f (in the first example f = y2, in the second example f = ln(y)) and applying this result.

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