Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

One of fundamental inequalities on logarithm is: $$ 1 - \frac1x \leq \log x \leq x-1 \quad\text{for all $x > 0$},$$ which you may prefer write in the form of $$ \frac{x}{1+x} \leq \log{(1+x)} \leq x \quad\text{for all $x > -1$}.$$

The upper bound is very intuitive -- it's easy to derive from Taylor series as follows: $$ \log(1+x) = \sum_{i=1}^\infty (-1)^{n+1}\frac{x^n}{n} \leq (-1)^{1+1}\frac{x^1}{1} = x.$$

My question is: "what is the intuition behind the lower bound?" I know how to prove the lower bound of $\log (1+x)$ (maybe by checking the derivative of the function $f(x) = \frac{x}{1+x}-\log(1+x)$ and showing it's decreasing) but I'm curious how one can obtain this kind of lower bound. My ultimate goal is to come up with a new lower bound on some logarithm-related function, and I'd like to apply the intuition behind the standard logarithm lower-bound to my setting.

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Take the upper bound: $$ \ln {x} \leq x-1 $$ Apply it to $1/x$: $$ \ln \frac{1}{x} \leq \frac{1}{x} - 1 $$ This is the same as $$ \ln x \geq 1 - \frac{1}{x}. $$

share|improve this answer
add comment

Starting from the fairly well-known, $$1 - y \leq e^{-y}$$ Rearranging, $$1 - e^{-y} \leq y$$ Substituting $y = \ln x$, $$1 - \frac{1}{x} \leq \ln x$$

TADA!

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.