Why is the Integral an Anti-derivative?

Calculus Tutorial

Why is the Integral an Anti-derivative?


We will use the following definitions:

Anti-Derivative : The anti-derivative of a function f is a function F such that F' = f.

Integral (area definition) : The integral of \int_a^b f(x) dx of f is the area under the curve f(x) from x=a to x=b.

Let us define the area under the curve f from some starting point (it’s arbitrary) to x as A(x). Now we calculate A(x+dx) - A(x). It is left to the reader to show:

(1)   \begin{equation*} A(x+dx) - A(x) = \frac{dx}{2} \left( f(x+dx) + f(x) \right). \end{equation*}

Dividing by dx and taking the limit dx approaches zero we get.

(2)   \begin{equation*} A'(x) = f(x). \end{equation*}

Thus, the integral of f(x) is the anti-derivative of f(x).

Sample Problem

By drawing a sample curve of f(x) and using the formula for the area of a trapezoid, show that:

(1)   \begin{equation*} A(x+dx) - A(x) = \frac{dx}{2} \left( f(x+dx) + f(x) \right). \end{equation*}


Hint: For dx small enough, the path from f(x) to f(x+dx) is a line.

About The Author

Math And Physics From Algebra To College Calculus
I have been tutoring math and physics on and off for 10 years now. I have been involved in various residential tutoring programs as well as college level teaching. I can tutor mathematics from middle school algebra all the way to college level advanced calculus. My standard teaching method is...
Send Email
8 Subjects
KnowRo Tutor
2 Tutorials
Amarillo, TX

Suggested Tutors for Calculus Help


Varsity Tutors

(855) 475-5132 - Award-Winning Academic & Test Prep Tutors


Study Wizards

(408) 883-8660 5-Star Yelp and Google in-home tutoring


Link Educational Institute

Link Educational Institute

Lance L

Frederick, MD

Math, Chemistry And Physics Tutor

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *