Define a subset of a metric space that is both open and closed.

Define a nonempty subset of a metric space that is both open and closed.

The real line with the Euclidean metric $d(x,y)=|x-y|$ is open and closed. If you take two real lines, not connected together, and invent a metric that works for any pair of points (it has to be able to give a distance if one point is on one line and one is on the other, as well as a distance between two points on the same line), then you have a nice disconnected metric space. And one of the lines is a closed open subset.

(Provided you can make sure there's a minimum distance between pairs of points on different lines)

I'm having some trouble with metric spaces and can't think of a subset that would be both open and closed (except for empty subset).

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Take the empty set. – user127.0.0.1 Jan 15 '14 at 0:39
ahh sorry should've said a nonempty subset – user120246 Jan 15 '14 at 0:44
I suppose the whole space is not allowed either? – user127.0.0.1 Jan 15 '14 at 0:49
Any set with the discrete topology is metrizable, and any subset of a discrete topological space is both open and closed, so...there you go! – Nick D. Jan 15 '14 at 0:50

Proving the every subset of $M$ is clopen. – Poppy Jan 15 at 2:03
$\mathbb{R}^n$ is connected, which means it cannot be written as the disjoint union of non-empty open sets. Equivalently, if $S\subseteq\mathbb{R}^n$ is open and closed, then either $S=\emptyset$ or $S=\mathbb{R}^n$. You have to find a topology where the underlying space is disconnected. – T.A.E. Jan 15 at 5:48