﻿ Introduction to the Two-Column Proof
INTRODUCTION TO THE TWO-COLUMN PROOF
by Dr. Carol JVF Burns (website creator)
Follow along with the highlighted text while you listen!
• PRACTICE (online exercises and printable worksheets)
• Before studying this section, you may want to review:

Deductive reasoning uses logic, and statements that are already accepted to be true, to reach conclusions.
The methods of mathematical proof are based on deductive reasoning.

A proof is a convincing demonstration that a mathematical statement is necessarily true.
Proofs can use:

• given information (information that is assumed to be true)
• definitions (Definitions are true, by definition!)
• postulates (statements that are assumed to be true, without proof)
• (a truth table shows that these are always true)
• statements that have already been proved

In higher-level mathematics, proofs are usually written in paragraph form.
When introducing proofs, however, a two-column format is usually used to summarize the information.
True statements are written in the first column.
A reason that justifies why each statement is true is written in the second column.

This section gives you practice with two-column proofs.
You will be proving very simple algebraic statements—the goal is to practice with structure and style, and not be distracted by difficult content.
You will also practice with the methods of direct proof, indirect proof, and proof by contraposition.

Here are your first two-column proofs:

PROVE:

If $\,2x + 1 = 7\,$, then $\,x = 3\,$.
Use a direct proof.

PROOF:

 STATEMENTS REASONS 1.   Assume: $\,2x + 1 = 7\,$ hypothesis of direct proof 2.   $2x = 6$ subtract $\,1\,$ from both sides 3.   $x = 3$ divide both sides by $\,2$

PROVE:

If $\,2x + 1 = 7\,$, then $\,x = 3\,$.
Use an indirect proof.

In this case, an indirect proof is much longer than a direct proof.
Whenever you give a reason that uses anything except the immediately preceding step, then cite the step(s) that are being used.

PROOF:

 STATEMENTS REASONS 1.   Assume: $\,2x + 1 = 7\,$ AND $\,x\ne 3\,$ hypothesis of indirect proof 2.   $2x + 1 = 7$ $(A\text{ and }B)\Rightarrow A$ 3.   $2x = 6$ subtract $\,1\,$ from both sides 4.   $x = 3$ divide both sides by $\,2$ 5.   $x \ne 3$ $(A\text{ and }B)\Rightarrow B\,$   (step 1) 6.   $x = 3\,$ and $\,x\ne 3\,$; CONTRADICTION (steps 4 and 5) 7.   Thus, $\,x = 3\,$. conclusion of indirect proof

PROVE:

If $\,2x + 1 = 7\,$, then $\,x = 3\,$.
Use a proof by contraposition.

In this case, the proof seems somewhat convoluted.
For this statement, a direct proof is best.

PROOF:

 STATEMENTS REASONS 1.   Assume: $\,x\ne 3\,$ hypothesis of proof by contraposition 2.   $2x \ne 6$ multiply both sides by $\,2$ 3.   $2x + 1 \ne 7$ add $\,1\,$ to both sides
Master the ideas from this section