# How Can I prove (a+b) mod m = (a mod m) + (b mod m)) mod m? [closed]

## modular arithmetic

How Can I prove (a+b) mod m = (a mod m) + (b mod m)) mod m ?

## closed as off-topic by user147263, user91500, Surb, N. F. Taussig, graydadMar 5 '15 at 15:20

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• Before it can be proven, you have to have a definition for $\rm mod$. What is your definition of it? – DanielV Mar 5 '15 at 13:39
• This question is a bit confusing. You seem to have too many (mod m)s. Are you trying to prove equality in Z of least positive representatives or equality in Z/mZ? – SE318 Mar 5 '15 at 13:39

Let $a\mod m= a_1$ and $b\mod m = b_1$.

Then

$$\begin{cases}m\mid a-a_1\\m\mid b-b_1\end{cases}\implies m\mid a+b-(a_1+b_1)$$

$$\iff a+b\equiv a_1+b_1\pmod{m}\iff (a+b)\mod m=(a_1+b_1)\mod m\\\iff (a+b)\mod m =((a\mod m)+(b\mod m))\mod m\ \ \ \square$$

• I am not clear about the notation m|a . please explain. – Shakhawat Hossain Mar 5 '15 at 13:32
• You need to be careful here. If you say $a mod m= a_1$ then a is an integer and $a_1$ is a set of integers. This causes some problems. – SE318 Mar 5 '15 at 13:35
• $m\mid a$ is the notation for "$m$ divides $a$", or "$a$ is divisible by $m$". Formally, $m\mid a\iff \exists k\in\mathbb Z(a=mk)$. – user26486 Mar 5 '15 at 13:35
• @SE318 No. See this Wikipedia article. $a\mod m$ is defined to be $r$ such that $a=lm+r$ for some integer $l$, where $r\in\mathbb Z, 0\le r<m$. – user26486 Mar 5 '15 at 13:36
• @user314, I see what you're saying. I've never seen it defined in this way in any of my math classes though as this lead to ambiguity as to if you're just finding the remainder, or passing into the quotient space. It's probably just a difference in definitions though, depending on which textbook you use, they can define these things with slight(but important!) differences. – SE318 Mar 5 '15 at 13:50

Using $\,\ c\equiv d\pmod m\color{#c00}\iff \bar c = \bar d,\$ where $\,\ \bar n := (n\bmod m)\$

${\rm mod}\ m\!:\,\ a\color{#c00}\equiv \bar a$
$\qquad\qquad\, b\color{#c00}\equiv \bar b$
$\ \, \Rightarrow\,\ a+b\equiv \bar a + \bar b\,\$ by the  Congruence Sum Rule

$\color{#c00}\Rightarrow\, (a+b)\ {\rm mod}\ m\, \equiv\, (\bar a + \bar b)\ {\rm mod}\ m,\,\$ which is the titled claim.

Remark  Generally, as above, to prove an identity about mod as an operator it is usually easiest to first convert it into the more flexible congruence form, prove it using congruences, then convert back to operator form.

If $\pmod m$ just means that you subtract or add multiples of $m$ until you end up in the range $0,1,2,...,m-1$ then the RHS is easily compared to the LHS by collecting multiples of $m$.