If Trigonometric Functions Wrote Letters to Each Other

Dear π/4,

Stop leering and asking me “What’s your sine?” I’ve already told you, it’s ½. Why don’t you ask me about my hobbies or something?


Dear Secant,

Ooh, this isn’t totally related, but what you just said reminds me of a great story…



You would be really useful if I had a better grasp on phonetics. Is it SAHCOATOH? SOACOHTAH? Help me out here.

-Bad Spellers

Dear 3-4-5 Triangle and 5-12-13 Triangle,

Hey, can I play? How come you guys never pick me to hang out with?

-8-15-17 triangle

Dear Quadrant 1,

I’m closing the wormhole to Quadrant 3. The threat posed by the Dominion is simply too great.

-Captain Sisko, Deep Space Sine

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury,

Let’s concede, for the sake of argument, that sin(A)/a = sin(B)/b. If so, what does it prove? Nothing! My client is innocent.

-The Lawyer of Sines

Dear Teacher,

Don’t worry, I totally understand simple harmonic motion. “Simple” means dumb, “harmonic” means music, and “motion” is moving around. So simple harmonic motion is just bad dancing. I’m the master of that!


Dear Sine,

We can’t keep fighting each other like this. We just wind up right back where we started. Truce?


Dear Radians,

I don’t care if you’ve got more critical acclaim. I’m more popular among audiences.


Dear Students,

Just when I thought things were going so well… you see “sin(45o)/sin(30o),” and you cancel out “sin” to get 1.5? Back to square one, guys.


Dear Teacher,

Sorry for blurting out that answer so quickly. I guess I’ve got an itchy Trig finger.


Dear Trig Classes,

Oh, I see. You spend weeks drawing beautiful portraits of sine and cosine, but when it comes time to draw me, you’re “too busy” and “behind schedule”? How convenient.


Dear Trigonometry, if That Is Your Real Name,

I’m going to have to ask you to wait here. We need to verify your Identity.

-Homeland Security

Dear Classmate,

Shhh… don’t tell the teacher, but for the test, I snuck a bunch of light waves into the room. That should make it easy to remember what sine curves look like. You can look at them too, as long as you don’t snitch.

-Your Classmate

Dear Mom,

I don’t think I can go to school today. I have too many questions about who I am, and what my purpose is in math class. Basically, I’m having a trig identity crisis.

-Your Kid

Dear Student,

Look, I know you want more points, but when I asked you to state DeMoivre’s theorem, you just wrote “DeMoivre’s De Man!!!” and drew a picture of a French guy in a beret holding a baguette. I think 3 out of 10 is more than generous.

-Your Teacher

Dear Numbers,

You’re so concrete. I don’t see how you could ever be useful in the real world.


Dear Teacher,

You want me to “evaluate” this expression? Okay—it’s muddled, poorly lit, and unengaging. I give it 1 star out of 4. Are you happy now?


Dear Teacher,

Aw, you’re letting us bring a cheat sheet to the test? Way to take all the fun out of cheating. Now I don’t even want to.


Dear Sin(2x) and 2sin(x),

Wait… you two guys are different? Please don’t think I’m racist, but I thought you were the same thing.

-A student

Dear “Scientific” Calculators,

What’s so scientific about having less functionality than a slide-rule?

-Graphing calculators

Dear Graphing Calculators,

Wow, you only cost $112 each? That’s just $109 more than the Wolfram Alpha app that does all the same things, with a better interface. What a bargain!

-Scientific calculators

8 thoughts on “If Trigonometric Functions Wrote Letters to Each Other

    1. Nice. Took me a second to figure out ‘Polly,’ but I suppose ‘poly-nomials’ means something akin to ‘many names,’ so that’s rather fitting.

  1. But sir, sin(159.114295078822) / sin(442.62432) = 159.114295078822 / 442.62432 !

    (Nothing but the trivial solution exists for numerators smaller than that.)

      1. Yeh. They aren’t nice to solve besides the trivial x=y case but there is an infinite number of solutions. Working in degrees was hard to go back to 🙂

        1. Yeah! I see degrees the way non-native English speakers must see English – this kind of clunky language from this weird island that for some reason has become the global standard.

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