The Two Points Form of the Equation of a Line

The equation of a non-vertical line passing through two points A\left( {{x_1},{y_1}} \right) and B\left( {{x_2},{y_2}} \right) is given by

\frac{{x - {x_1}}}{{{x_2} - {x_1}}} = \frac{{y - {y_1}}}{{{y_2} - {y_1}}}

To prove this equation let P\left( {x,y} \right) be any point on the given line l. Also this line passes through A\left( {{x_1},{y_1}} \right) and B\left( {{x_2},{y_2}} \right), as shown in the given diagram.

From A and B draw AL and BN perpendicular to the X-axis and from point P draw PM also perpendicular to the X-axis. Also from A draw perpendicular to AD on BN.


Now from the given diagram, consider the similar triangles ADB and ACP, and by the definition of a slope we take

\frac{{PC}}{{BD}} = \frac{{AC}}{{AD}}\,\,\,{\text{ - - - }}\left( {\text{i}} \right)

Also from the given diagram we have

\begin{gathered} PC = PM - CM = y - {y_1} \\ \Rightarrow BD = BN - DN = {y_2} - {y_1} \\ \Rightarrow AC = LM = OM - ON = x - {x_1} \\ \Rightarrow AD = LN = ON - OL = {x_2} - {x_1} \\ \end{gathered}

Putting these all values in the above equation (i) we have

\frac{{x - {x_1}}}{{{x_2} - {x_1}}} = \frac{{y - {y_1}}}{{{y_2} - {y_1}}}


This is the equation of a line passing through two points A\left( {{x_1},{y_1}} \right) and B\left( {{x_2},{y_2}} \right). This equation can also have the form

\frac{{x - {x_2}}}{{{x_1} - {x_2}}} = \frac{{y - {y_2}}}{{{y_1} - {y_2}}}


In determinant form, the given equation of a line through two points is

\left| {\begin{array}{*{20}{c}} x&y&1 \\ {{x_1}}&{{y_1}}&1 \\ {{x_2}}&{{y_2}}&1 \end{array}} \right| = 0


NOTE: There is an alternate way to prove the two points form of the equation of a straight line.

Consider the slope point form of the equation of a line, we have

y - {y_1} = m\left( {x - {x_1}} \right)\,\,\,{\text{ - - - }}\left( {\text{i}} \right)


Since the line is passing through the point \left( {{x_1},{y_1}} \right) in the above equation and the slope of the line is m = \frac{{{y_2} - {y_1}}}{{{x_2} - {x_1}}}, so equation (i) becomes

\begin{gathered} y - {y_1} = \left( {\frac{{{y_2} - {y_1}}}{{{x_2} - {x_1}}}} \right)\left( {x - {x_1}} \right) \\ \frac{{x - {x_2}}}{{{x_1} - {x_2}}} = \frac{{y - {y_2}}}{{{y_1} - {y_2}}} \\ \end{gathered}