With so many formulas and equations to know and use, computations can become confusing when you must use several formulas and/or equations for the same problem. Function notation was developed to help differentiate between distinct equations and formulas, which are all considered functions.

A function is a correspondence, or relation, between two sets of data where each input (one set of data) is associated with one output (second set of data). In other words, inputting a specific value into an equation or formula will result in one specific value. If an input results in more than one output, the equation or formula cannot be considered a function.

Function notation refers to switching out the output’s variable (usually *y*) with a different notation: *f* (*x*). This notation is not f multiplied to *x*, but is simply read as “*f* of *x*.” The *f* is a label or a way to distinguish which equation is which. You can use whatever letter you want for function notation, but many functions will be paired with the *f*. The variable inside of the parenthesis is the input.

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