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determine the sign of f (−4), we are attempting to ﬁnd the sign of the number (−4)3 (−7)2 (−2),
which works out to be (−)(+)(−) which is (+). If we move to the other side of x = −2, and ﬁnd
the sign of f (−1), we are determining the sign of (−1)3 (−4)2 (+1), which is (−)(+)(+) which gives
us the (−). Notice that signs of the ﬁrst two factors in both expressions are the same in f (−4) and
f (−1). The only factor which switches sign is the third factor, (x + 2), precisely the factor which
gave us the zero x = −2. If we move to the other side of 0 and look closely at f (1), we get the sign
pattern (+1)3 (−2)2 (+3) or (+)(+)(+) and we note that, once again, going from f (−1) to f (1),
the only factor which changed sign was the ﬁrst factor, x3 , which corresponds to the zero x = 0.
Finally, to ﬁnd f (4), we substitute to get (+4)3 (+2)2 (+5) which is (+)(+)(+) or (+). The sign
didn’t change for the middle factor (x − 3)2 . Even though this is the factor which corresponds to
the zero x = 3, the fact that the quantity is squ...
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