Additive identity

In mathematics the additive identity of a set which is equipped with the operation of addition is an element which, when added to any element x in the set, yields x. One of the most familiar additive identities is the number 0 from elementary mathematics, but additive identities occur in other mathematical structures where addition is defined, such as in groups and rings.

Elementary examples

Formal definition

Let N be a set which is closed under the operation of addition, denoted +. An additive identity for N is any element e such that for any element n in N,

e + n = n = n + e

Example: The formula is n + 0 = n = 0 + n.

Further examples


The additive identity is unique in a group

Let (G, +) be a group and let 0 and 0' in G both denote additive identities, so for any g in G,

0 + g = g = g + 0 and 0' + g = g = g + 0'

It follows from the above that

(0') = (0') + 0 = 0' + (0) = (0)

The additive identity annihilates ring elements

In a system with a multiplication operation that distributes over addition, the additive identity is a multiplicative absorbing element, meaning that for any s in S, s·0 = 0. This can be seen because:

The additive and multiplicative identities are different in a non-trivial ring

Let R be a ring and suppose that the additive identity 0 and the multiplicative identity 1 are equal, or 0 = 1. Let r be any element of R. Then

r = r × 1 = r × 0 = 0

proving that R is trivial, that is, R = {0}. The contrapositive, that if R is non-trivial then 0 is not equal to 1, is therefore shown.

See also


External links

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