# Chain Rule Help

The chain rule is similar to the product

rule and the quotient rule,

but it deals with

differentiating compositions of functions. If we recall, a composite function is a function

that contains another function:

*The Formula for the Chain Rule*

The capital F means the same thing as lower case f, it just encompasses the composition

of functions. As a motivation for the chain rule, let’s look at the following example:

**(1)**

This function would take a long time to factor out and find the derivative of each

term, so we can consider this a composite function. The two functions would look

like this:

Notice that substituting g(x) for g in f(x) would yeild the original function. We

will see that after differentiating, we will then substitute g(x) back in for g.

So the composite function would be

Now, we can use the chain rule, which is defined by **taking the derivative of outside
function times the inside function, and multiplying it by the derivative of the
inside function**:

Using this rule, we have:

Let’s do another example.

**(2)** Differentiate the following function:

We define the inside and outside function to be

Then, the derivative of the composition will be as follows:

Think of the chain rule as a process. The derivative of the composite function is

the derivative of the outside function times the derivative of the inside function.