Trigonometry

##### Related Lessons

Tutors/teachers:

Nikkolas

Tutor and Aerospace Engineer

# Sohcahtoa

## What is Sohcahtoa?

Sohcahtoa is a word that helps us remember how to use sine, cosine, and tangent. Here’s what sohcahtoa means:**Soh — Sine of angle is Opposite over Hypotenuse.**

**Cah —**

*C*osine of angle is*A*djacent over*H*ypotenuse.**Toa —**

*T*angent of angle is*O*pposite over*A*djacent.We can use sohcahtoa to create three different equations for finding the value of angle *θ* in the right triangle like shown below. They are given as:

sin(θ) = opposite/hypotenuse

cos(θ) = adjacent/hypotenuse

tan(θ) = opposite/adjacent

### When to use Sohcahtoa

**Sohcahtoa is applicable to any situation that involves a right triangle.** Since we use right triangles to solve all kinds of problems in math, science, and engineering, knowing how to use sohcahtoa is extremely important!

### How to use Sohcahtoa

A right triangle is made up of two shorter sides, called *legs*, and one longer, diagonal side, called the *hypotenuse*. The leg that touches the angle being measured is called the adjacent side. The other leg, which doesn’t touch the angle, is called the opposite side.

We can find any of the three angles inside of a right triangle if the two of the three side lengths are known. Sohcahtoa gives us three different options for which two sides to use when calculating the angle.

### Example Problem

In the image below, side *BC* is 6 meters long, and the height *H* is 3 meters. What is the value of angle *β* in degrees?

Solution:

Even though the main outer triangle is not a right triangle, there is a right triangle formed by the height line and the two sides to its right. Therefore, we can use sohcahtoa to solve.

We have two lengths: the hypotenuse and the adjacent side.*Cah* tells us that the cosine of an angle is equal to the adjacent over hypotenuse.

cos(β) = adj/hyp = 3/6

β = cos^{-1}(3/6)

β = 60°** The angle β = 60°.**

Result :

Worksheet 1

Download.pdf

Cheat sheet

Download.pdf