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# Types of Triangles Study Guide: GED Math (page 2)

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Updated on Mar 23, 2011

### Congruent Triangles

Triangles are congruent if they are exactly the same size and the same shape. You might look at two triangles and guess whether they are the same—you're probably a pretty good judge as to whether two triangles are the same size and shape. Or, you could cut out one of the triangles and see if it fits exactly on top of the other one. If so, they are congruent. However, geometry is largely about proving things, not guessing about them. So, you need to be able to use basic geometry rules, such as theorems (formulas or statements in mathematics that can be proved true) to show that two triangles are congruent.

Though geometry rules come in different forms, they can be generally understood as statements that all mathematicians have agreed to accept as true or that can be proved true. Postulates are statements that are accepted without proof. Theorems are statements that can be proved true. You will learn more about these principles when you take a geometry course (if you have not already taken one). For now, you just need to know that you must follow certain steps to prove that two triangles are congruent.

In fact, there are three rules for proving that two triangles are congruent to one another. Notice that the symbol ≅ means congruent to. When you see this symbol, say the word congruent.

### Similar Triangles

Triangles are similar if they have the same shape and their sizes are proportional to one another. You can prove that two triangles are similar using one of the following three rules. Notice that the symbol ˜ means similar to.

### Parts of a Right Triangle

A triangle that has a right angle is called a right triangle. The sides and angles of right triangles have special relationships.

As you know, a right triangle has three sides. Two of the sides come together to form the right angle. These two sides are called legs. The third side of the triangle is called the hypotenuse. The hypotenuse is always the longest side of a right triangle. It is directly across from the right angle.

### The Pythagorean Theorem

Right triangles are special triangles used for measuring. In a right triangle, the base and one side are perpendicular.

In right triangles, there is a special relationship between the hypotenuse and the legs of the triangle. This relationship is always true and it is known as the Pythagorean theorem. The following equation summarizes the Pythagorean theorem.

a2 + b2 = c2

In the equation, a and b are the legs of the right triangle, and c is the hypotenuse.

In words, the Pythagorean theorem states that in a right triangle, the sum of the squares of the lengths of the legs is equal to the square of the length of the hypotenuse.

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at:

Geometry Practice Problems: GED Math