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I don't understand this one part in the proof for convergent sequences are bounded.

Proof:

Let $s_n$ be a convergent sequence, and let $\lim s_n = s$. Then taking $\epsilon = 1$ we have:

$n > N \implies |s_n - s| < 1$

From the triangle inequality we see that: $ n > N \implies|s_n| - |s| < 1 \iff |s_n| < |s| + 1$.

Define $M= \max\{|s|+1, |s_1|, |s_2|, ..., |s_N|\}$. Then we have $|s_n| \leq M$ for all $n \in N$.

I do not understand the defining $M$ part. Why not just take $|s| + 1$ as the bound, since for $n > N \implies |s_n| < |s| + 1$?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

$|s|+1$ is a bound for $a_n$ when $n > N$. We want a bound that applies to all $n \in \mathbb{N}$. To get this bound, we take the supremum of $|s|+1$ and all terms of $|a_n|$ when $n \le N$. Since the set we're taking the supremum of is finite, we're guaranteed to have a finite bound $M$.

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Taking the Max ensures that we take into account elements of $a_n$ for $n \leq N$ that could be bigger than $|s| + 1$? –  CodeKingPlusPlus Oct 15 '12 at 3:05
    
@CodeKingPlusPlus Yes, you got it right! –  Ayman Hourieh Oct 15 '12 at 8:36

Because you want to be sure that the bound is large enough to ensure that $|s_n|\le M$ for all $n\in\Bbb N$, not just for all $n>N$. Taking $M\ge|s|+1$ ensures that the only possible exceptions to $|s_n|\le M$ are $s_1,\dots,s_N$, and taking $M\ge\max\{|s_1|,\dots,|s_N|\}$ takes care of these as well.

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