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Exponents can be variables. Variable exponents obey all the properties of
exponents listed in Properties of Exponents.

An exponential function is a function that contains a variable exponent.
For example, f (x) = 2^{x} and g(x) = 5ƒ3^{x} are exponential functions. We
can graph exponential functions. Here is the graph of f (x) = 2^{x}:

The graph has a horizontal asymptote at y = 0, because 2^{x} > 0 for all x.
It passes through the point (0, 1).

We can translate this graph. For example,
we can shift the graph down 3 units and left 5 units. Here is the graph of f (x) = 2^{x+5} - 3:

This graph has a horizontal asymptote at y = - 3 and passes through the point
(- 5, - 2).

We can stretch and
shrink the graph vertically by
multiplying the output by a constant--see
Stretches. For example, f (x) = 3ƒ2^{x} is stretched vertically by a factor of 3:

This graph has a horizontal asymptote at y = 0 and passes through the point
(0, 3).

We can also graph exponential functions with other bases, such as f (x) = 3^{x}
and f (x) = 4^{x}. We can think of these graphs as differing from the graph of
f (x) = 2^{x} by a horizontal stretch or shrink: when we multiply the input of
f (x) = 2^{x} by 2, we get f (x) = 2^{2x} = (2^{2})^{x} = 4^{x}. Thus, the graph of
f (x) = 4^{x} is shrunk horizontally by a factor of 2 from f (x) = 2^{x}:

This graph has a horizontal asymptote at y = 0 and passes through the point
(0, 1).

The graph of f (x) = a^{x} does not always differ from f (x) = 2^{x} by a rational
factor. Thus, it is useful to think of each base individually, and to think of
a different base as a horizontal stretch for comparison purposes only.

The graph of an exponential function can also be
reflected over the x-axis or the
y-axis, and rotated around the
origin, as in Heading .

The general form of an exponential function is f (x) = cƒa^{x-h} + k,
where a is a positive constant and a≠1. a is called the base.
The graph has a horizontal asymptote of y = k and passes through the point
(h, c + k).

The domain of f (x) is and
the range of f (x) is .