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.

Why doesn't L'Hôpital's rule work here? $$\lim_{x\to0}\frac{x^2}{x^2-x}$$ By L'Hôpital's rule I have $1$ while the limit is $0$....

share|improve this question
By l'hipital you get 2x/(2x-1) -> 0.. Why do you say it goes to 1? –  Ant Jun 20 at 8:39
@user147985 It goes to zero only ... try again –  Debashish Jun 20 at 8:44
It does work. One of the hypothesis is that the limit you're computing is undetermined if taken naively. But after you apply L'Hôpital once, you can already get the limit naively, it's not $\frac 00$ anymore, you can'use the theorem again. So $\lim \limits_{x\to 0}\left(\dfrac{x^2}{x^2-x}\right)=\lim \limits_{x\to 0}\left(\dfrac{2x}{2x-1}\right)=\lim \limits_{x\to 0}\left(\dfrac{2}{2}\right)=1$ is wrong. –  Git Gud Jun 20 at 8:45
@ Git Gud Thank you very much! –  user147985 Jun 20 at 8:47
You can also cancel out a factor of $x$ from the numerator and denominator to remove the discontinuity at 0. –  Hao Ye Jun 20 at 9:32

1 Answer 1

$$\lim_{x\rightarrow 0} \frac{2x}{2x-1} = \frac{\lim_{x\rightarrow 0}2x}{\lim_{x\rightarrow 0}2x-1} = \frac{0}{-1} = 0 \ne 1$$

For the completeness of my answer:
You can't use L'Hôpital the second time, since this rule demands both numerator and denominator converges to $0$ or diverges to infinity. Instead, evaluate seperatedly the limit for the numerator and denominator (arithmetic of limits) as I demonstrated above.

share|improve this answer
But when I do L'Hôpital's rule again I have lim 2/2=1... –  user147985 Jun 20 at 8:45
You can't use L'Hôpital's rule the second time (the denominator isn't $0$). –  AnnieOK Jun 20 at 8:48
You don't have the necessary conditions to use the rule again, since the limit doesn't present an inditerminate form. –  Victor Jun 20 at 8:55
The necessary conditions are: f(x)->0, g(x)->0, and f'(x)/g'(x) has a limit. The second of these conditions is not met. –  gnasher729 Jun 20 at 9:23
@AnnieOK why not include that in your answer? As it is now, it looks a bit snarky. –  Matsemann Jun 20 at 14:54

Your Answer


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.