# Any finitely generated subgroup of $(\mathbb{Q},+)$ is cyclic.

$\fbox{1}$ Prove that any finitely generated subgroup of $(\mathbb{Q},+)$ is cyclic.

$\fbox{2}$ Prove that $\mathbb{Q}$ is not isomorphic to $\mathbb{Q}\times \mathbb{Q}$.

Any hints would be appreciated.

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A hint that almost always applies: organize and present your own thoughts on the question. If you don't figure out the answer yourself in the process, the information you provide will not only allow others to write more helpful answers, but it will give them confidence you're looking to learn how to solve problems rather than to copy answers. –  Hurkyl Jul 20 '12 at 0:40
I'd like to expand on Lim's comment: When users from the site see that a questioner has a very low acceptance rate, we may see it as an indication that you do not come back and see the answers. Most people here want to help other people, but when we help one person that sometimes means we cannot do the same for another. Thus, we are less likely to actually answer your question in the first place, and it is generally frustrating for all involved. –  Eric Stucky Jul 20 '12 at 0:47
I don't think the downvote is appropriate here. The votes should represent the quality of the question, not of the person who asked it. If the downvote came for a different reason, please explain. There are many questions on the site whose quality is more or less as this one without any downvotes. –  user12014 Jul 20 '12 at 0:49
@PZZ: One of the hover legends on the downvote button is "this question does not show any research effort", and that certainly does describe this question. It's rather uncharitable to assume that the downvoter voted out of a dislike of the asker rather than because of the actual problems that do exist with the question. –  Henning Makholm Jul 20 '12 at 0:54
@HenningMakholm Fair enough. However, I still stand by the fact that there are many questions showing just as little research effort that are not downvoted. –  user12014 Jul 20 '12 at 0:56

Hint 1. Given any two elements $a,b\in\mathbb{Q}$, can you find an element $r\in\mathbb{Q}$ such that $a=mr$ and $b=nr$ for some integers $m$ and $n$? If so, then $\langle a,b\rangle\subseteq \langle r\rangle$; what do we know about subgroups of cyclic groups.

Hint 2. Is there a finitely generated subgroup of $\mathbb{Q}\times\mathbb{Q}$ that is not cyclic?

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Hint 1. Suppose $\frac{m_1}{n_1},\frac{m_2}{n_2},\ldots,\frac{m_k}{n_k}$ are the generators of $G\leq\Bbb Q$. We can use these generators to construct an element $\frac mn$ which already generates $G$.

Hint 2. Suppose $f:\Bbb Q\to\Bbb Q\times\Bbb Q$ is an isomorphism. How are $f(1)$ and $f(\frac mn)$ related?

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If you are stuck, then it often helps to look at special cases. Here it turns out that if you can prove that subgroups generated by two elements are cyclic, then this will quickly imply the full result. To be even more concrete, let's consider the subgroup generated by $\frac12$ and $\frac13$.

How is this going to work? The subgroup consists of elements of the form, for $n, m \in \mathbb Z$, $\frac n2 + \frac m3 = \frac{3n + 2m}6.$ The numerator here should set off some bells, and I think you can now prove that the subgroup is generated by $\frac16$. Can you make this work for two general rational numbers?

One way to do the second part is to look at the finitely generated subgroup $\mathbb Z \times \mathbb Z$ of $\mathbb Q \times \mathbb Q$.

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