You are on page 1of 2

PROOF AND DISPROOF

A mathematical proof is an argument which convinces other people that something is true.
Logical proof is proof that is derived explicitly from its premises without exception.

DIRECT PROOF
A direct proof is one of the most familiar forms of proof. We use it to prove statements of the form ”if
p then q” or ”p implies q” which we can write as p ⇒ q. The method of the proof is to takes an original
statement p, which we assume to be true, and use it to show directly that another statement q is true.
So a direct proof has the following steps:
• Assume the statement p is true.
• Use what we know about p and other facts as necessary to deduce that another statement q is true,
that is show p ⇒ q is true.

Example:
Prove the statement: For all integers m and n, if m and n are odd integers, then m + n is an even integer.
Proof. Assume m and n are arbitrary odd integers. Then m and n can be written in the
form m = 2a + 1 and n = 2b + 1, where a and b are also integers. Then
m + n = (2a + 1) + (2b + 1) (substitution)
= 2a + 2b + 2 (associative and commutative laws of addition)
= 2(a + b + 1) (distributive law)
Since m+n is twice another integer, namely, a+b+1, m+n is an even integer.

PROOF BY CONTRADICTION
A proof by contradiction is a proof that works as follows:
– ● To prove that P is true, assume that P is not true.
– ● Based on the assumption that P is not true, conclude something impossible.
– ● Assuming the logic is sound, the only option is that the assumption that P is not true is
incorrect.
– ● Conclude, therefore, that P is true.

Example:
• Theorem: If n 2 is even, then n is even.
• Proof: By contradiction; assume n 2 is even but n is odd.
– Since n is odd, n = 2k + 1 for some integer k.
– Then n 2 = (2k + 1)2 = 4k 2 + 4k + 1 = 2(2k 2 + 2k) + 1.
– Now, let m = 2k 2 + 2k. Then n 2 = 2m + 1, so by definition n 2 is odd. But this is
impossible, since n 2 is even.
– We have reached a contradiction, so our assumption was false. Thus if n 2 is even, n is
even as well.

DISPROOF
• How to disprove P: Prove ∼ P.
Suppose you want to disprove a statement P. In other words you want to prove that P is false.
The way to do this is to prove that ∼ P is true, for if ∼ P is true, it follows immediately that P has to be
false.
DISPROOF BY COUNTEREXAMPLE
Requirements
• State false.
• Give a counterexample.
• Explain why your counterexample is a counterexample

Example:
• Prove or disprove: All prime numbers are odd.
Solution: This statement is false. Counterexample: n = 2. 2 = 2 · (1) so n is even. 2 and 1 are the
only factors of 2 so it is prime. We have found an even prime number so the original statement is not
true.

Members: