I am working on a class project, the passage I quoted in here is from a book Complex Numbers & Geometry by Hahn, p.64.

For any four complex numbers $a$, $b$, $c$, $d$, the following identity is easy to verify:
$$(a-b)(c-d)+(a-d)(b-c) = (a-c)(b-d).$$
By triangle inequality, we obtain
$$|a-b||c-d|+|a-d||b-c| = |a-c||b-d|.$$
Now let us investigate when the inequality becomes an equality. In the case of triangle inequality, $$|z_1 + z_2| ≤ |z_1| + |z_2|,$$ equality holds iff $z_1/z_2$ is a positive real number (provided $z_1\cdot z_2 \neq 0$). Thus we are looking for a condition to ensure that $\frac{(a-b)(c-d)}{(a-d)(b-c)}$ is a positive real number.

My question is not so much about complex number but about how do you go from $(z_1/z_2)>0$ to saying that $(a-b)(c-d)/(a-d)(b-c)$ has to be also $>0$? As in elsewhere, the author tends to skip lots of detail, I think he also skips detail here.

Thank you very much for your time.

  • $\begingroup$ First: try to type and not link the question. Second: the pasted stuff is so small that I almost need a microscope to read it. Third: what's the relations between $\;z_i\;$ and $\;\alpha,\beta\;$ and etc.? $\endgroup$ – Timbuc Sep 19 '14 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Timbuc: Here you go, hope you can see better now. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Amanda.M Sep 19 '14 at 19:34

Put (the book's notation):


With this, we get that

$$|z_1+z_2|\le|z_1|+|z_2|\iff |(\alpha-\gamma)(\beta-\delta)|\le |(\alpha-\beta)(\gamma-\delta)|+|(\alpha-\delta)(\beta-\gamma)|$$

and the above is an equality iff $\;z_1z_2\neq0\;$ and


  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Awesome! Thanks for your time and speed, I gave you up-vote. Thanks again. $\endgroup$ – Amanda.M Sep 20 '14 at 0:41

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