SolitaryRoad.com

Website owner: James Miller

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Prove. A nonempty subset H of a group G is a subgroup of G if and only if a^{-1}b is in H for all a,b
in H.

Proof. We prove this by proving two statements:

a) If a^{-1}b is in H for all a,b in H, then H is a group.

b) If H is a group, then a^{-1}b is in H.

Proof of a): To prove a) we assume a^{-1}b is in H for all a,b in H and prove that H meets the four
axioms that must hold for a group: 1) closure, 2) associative, 3) existence of identity element, 4)
existence of inverse elements. First, since H is a subset of group G, the associative law must hold.
Second, the existence of an identity element e in H follows from the fact that since a^{-1}b is in H then
necessarily a^{-1}a = e is in H. Third, a^{-1}e = a^{-1} is in H and every element in H has an inverse. Fourth,
for every a,b in H, (a^{-1})^{-1}b = ab is in H and the Closure Law holds.

Proof of b): Assume that H is a subgroup of G. If a,b is in H, then a^{-1} is in H and, by the Closure
Law, a^{-1}b is in H.

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