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Why is the Pythagorean theorem a special case of the law of the cosines?

Asked by K. Tanaka, Last updated: Feb 26, 2020

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John F. connor

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John F. connor, Content Marketing executive, MA, Minsk,Poland

Answered Feb 08, 2019

The law of the cosines involves a triangle where it relates to the angles and not the sides like it does with the Pythagorean Theorem. However, there is also a formula for the law of cosines and it is similar to the formula for the Pythagorean Theorem. It states C squared is equal to A squared plus B squared minus two A times B times the cosine times the measurement of the angle that is between the lines of A and B.

The law of the cosines involves a triangle where it relates to the angles and not the sides like it

The angle that is labeled is actually situated across from the line with the same letter. The Pythagorean Theorem is a special case of the law of cosines because the formulas are so similar, but the law of cosines can be used for any triangle.

 

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