# Question about linear regression & residuals

#### pablowilks

##### New Member
I have been reading up on linear regression and residual plots here on stattrek:

http://stattrek.com/regression/residual-analysis.aspx?Tutorial=AP

The page contains the following:

"A residual plot is a graph that shows the residuals on the vertical axis and the independent variable on the horizontal axis. If the points in a residual plot are randomly dispersed around the horizontal axis, a linear regression model is appropriate for the data; otherwise, a non-linear model is more appropriate."

I cant figure out why randomly dispersed points suggest a linear regression model is appropriate; and dispersped points in an ordered manner being inappropriate.

Can anyone elaborate, in layman terms, why this is the case??

Many thanks in advance

#### hlsmith

##### Omega Contributor
Well how about I flip it back to you and say what if there is a pattern in the error, say they are shaped like a funnel? So they are very small and get larger and larger as the x variable increases.

#### Miner

##### TS Contributor
Well how about I flip it back to you and say what if there is a pattern in the error, say they are shaped like a funnel? So they are very small and get larger and larger as the x variable increases.
That example might be a little difficult given the way the excerpt was worded.

Try a pattern in the residuals that steadily increased in the first half of the plot then gradually decreased in the second half (e.g., like a frown)?