Axes and coordinates


All graphs have an {x}-axis and a {y}-axis. Here is a diagram of a typical set of axes.

Graph showing an x-axis and a y-axis
  • The point {(0,~0)} is called the origin.
  • The horizontal axis is the {x}-axis.
  • The vertical axis is the {y}-axis.
The x-axis is horizontal, and the y-axis is vertical.

One way to remember which axis is which is 'x is a cross so the {x}-axis is across'.


Coordinates are written as two numbers, separated by a comma and contained within round brackets. For example, {(2,~3)}, {(5,~7)} and {(4,~4)}.

  • The first number refers to the {x}-coordinate.
  • The second number refers to the {y}-coordinate.
Coordinates are written alphabetically - so x comes before y (x, y). One way to remember is 'you go along the hallway before you go up the stairs'.