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Indirect Proof

AKA Proof by contradiction

Indirect proof is synonymous with proof by contradiction. A keyword signalling that you should consider indirect proof is the word 'not'. Usually, when you are asked to prove that a given statement is NOT true, you can use indirect proof by assuming the statement is true and arriving at a contridiction.The idea behind the indirect method is that if what you assumed creates a contradiction, the opposite of your initial assumption is the truth.

Example of an Indirect Proof



Prove that BDA is not a straight angle.
Statement Reason
1) BDA is a straight angle 1) (Assumpe opposite \)
2) mBDA = 180° 2) Definition of a striaght angle
3)ADBC 3) Given
4) BDA is a right angle 4) definition of perpendicular lines
5) m BDA = 90° 5) definition of a right angle
6) m BDA is not a straight angle contradiction of steps 2 and 5
7 BDA is not a straight angle due to the contradiction between 2 and 5, we know that the assumption that WE INTRODUCED in the first step (bda is a straight angle) is false. Therefore, the opposite must be true: is not a straight angle
See this indirect proof all by itself(opens up new window, makign it easier to see entirity of proof below)