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Gradient (Slope) of a Straight Line

The Gradient (also called Slope) of a straight line shows how steep a straight line is.

The method to calculate the gradient is:

Gradient  = 
Change in Y
Change in X

 

The gradient of the above line =  
3
3
 =  1
 
The gradient of the above line is equal to 1

Different Types

There are different types of gradients of a straight line. Below are listed most of the ones that you will come up against.

Remember:

  • Starting from the left end of the line going across to the right is positive (but going across to the left is negative).
  • Up is positive, and down is negative

       
       
  gradient =  
3
5
  =  0.6
       
       

 

     
     
gradient =  
4
2
 =  2
     
     

 

     
     
gradient =  
-4
2
 = –2
     
     

(That line goes down as you move along, so it has a negative gradient.)

 

     
     
gradient =  
0
5
 =  0
     
     

(A line that goes straight across has a gradient of zero.)

 

11      
     
gradient =  
3
0
 = undefined
     
     

That last one is a bit tricky ... you can't divide by zero, so a "straight up and down" line's gradient is "undefined".