# 9.4: Subspaces and Basis

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## Outcomes

1. Utilize the subspace test to determine if a set is a subspace of a given vector space.
2. Extend a linearly independent set and shrink a spanning set to a basis of a given vector space.

In this section we will examine the concept of subspaces introduced earlier in terms of $$\mathbb{R}^n$$. Here, we will discuss these concepts in terms of abstract vector spaces.

Consider the definition of a subspace.

## Definition $$\PageIndex{1}$$: Subspace

Let $$V$$ be a vector space. A subset $$W\subseteq V$$ is said to be a subspace of $$V$$ if $$a\vec{x}+b\vec{y} \in W$$ whenever $$a,b\in \mathbb{R}$$ and $$\vec{x},\vec{y}\in W.$$

Below is a video on proving that a null space is a subspace.

Below is a video on determining if the set of lower triangular matrices is a subspace.

Below is a video on determining if the set of degree 3 polynomials with $$p(0)=1$$ is a subspace.

The span of a set of vectors as described in Definition 9.2.3 is an example of a subspace. The following fundamental result says that subspaces are subsets of a vector space which are themselves vector spaces.

## Theorem $$\PageIndex{1}$$: Subspaces are Vector Spaces

Let $$W$$ be a nonempty collection of vectors in a vector space $$V$$. Then $$W$$ is a subspace if and only if $$W$$ satisfies the vector space axioms, using the same operations as those defined on $$V$$.

Proof

Suppose first that $$W$$ is a subspace. It is obvious that all the algebraic laws hold on $$W$$ because it is a subset of $$V$$ and they hold on $$V$$. Thus $$\vec{u}+\vec{v}=\vec{v}+\vec{u}$$ along with the other axioms. Does $$W$$ contain $$\vec{0}?$$ Yes because it contains $$0\vec{u}=\vec{0}$$. See Theorem 9.1.1.

Are the operations of $$V$$ defined on $$W?$$ That is, when you add vectors of $$W$$ do you get a vector in $$W?$$ When you multiply a vector in $$W$$ by a scalar, do you get a vector in $$W?$$ Yes. This is contained in the definition. Does every vector in $$W$$ have an additive inverse? Yes by Theorem 9.1.1 because $$-\vec{v}=\left( -1\right) \vec{v}$$ which is given to be in $$W$$ provided $$\vec{v}\in W$$.

Next suppose $$W$$ is a vector space. Then by definition, it is closed with respect to linear combinations. Hence it is a subspace.

Below is a video on determining if the subset of vectors <a,b,0> is a subspace in $$R^3$$.

Consider the following useful Corollary.

## Corollary $$\PageIndex{1}$$: Span is a Subspace

Let $$V$$ be a vector space with $$W \subseteq V$$. If $$W = \mathrm{span} \left\{ \vec{v}_1, \cdots, \vec{v}_n \right\}$$ then $$W$$ is a subspace of $$V$$.

When determining spanning sets the following theorem proves useful.

## Theorem $$\PageIndex{2}$$: Spanning Set

Let $$W \subseteq V$$ for a vector space $$V$$ and suppose $$W = \mathrm{span} \left\{ \vec{v}_1, \vec{v}_2, \cdots, \vec{v}_n \right\}$$.

Let $$U \subseteq V$$ be a subspace such that $$\vec{v}_1, \vec{v}_2, \cdots, \vec{v}_n \in U$$. Then it follows that $$W \subseteq U$$.

In other words, this theorem claims that any subspace that contains a set of vectors must also contain the span of these vectors.

The following example will show that two spans, described differently, can in fact be equal.

## Example $$\PageIndex{1}$$: Equal Span

Let $$p(x), q(x)$$ be polynomials and suppose $$U = \mathrm{span}\left\{ 2p(x) - q(x), p(x) + 3q(x)\right\}$$ and $$W = \mathrm{span}\left\{ p(x), q(x) \right\}$$. Show that $$U = W$$.

Solution

We will use Theorem $$\PageIndex{2}$$ to show that $$U \subseteq W$$ and $$W \subseteq U$$. It will then follow that $$U=W$$.

1. $$U \subseteq W$$ Notice that $$2p(x) - q(x)$$ and $$p(x) + 3q(x)$$ are both in $$W=span\{p(x),q(x)\}$$. Then by Theorem $$\PageIndex{2}$$ $$W$$ must contain the span of these polynomials and so $$U⊆W$$.
2. $$W \subseteq U$$ Notice that \begin{aligned}p(x)&=\frac{3}{7}(2p(x)-q(x))+\frac{2}{7}(p(x)+3q(x)) \\ q(x)&=-\frac{1}{7}(2p(x)-q(x))+\frac{2}{7}(p(x)+3q(x))\end{aligned} Hence $$p(x),\:q(x)$$ are in $$span\{2p(x)−q(x),\: p(x) +3q(x)\}$$. By Theorem $$\PageIndex{2}$$ $$U$$ must contain the span of these polynomials and so $$W ⊆ U$$.

To prove that a set is a vector space, one must verify each of the axioms given in Definition 9.1.2 and 9.1.3. This is a cumbersome task, and therefore a shorter procedure is used to verify a subspace.

## Procedure $$\PageIndex{1}$$: Subspace Test

Suppose $$W$$ is a subset of a vector space $$V$$. To determine if $$W$$ is a subspace of $$V$$, it is sufficient to determine if the following three conditions hold, using the operations of $$V$$:

1. The additive identity $$\vec{0}$$ of $$V$$ is contained in $$W$$.
2. For any vectors $$\vec{w}_1, \vec{w}_2$$ in $$W$$, $$\vec{w}_1 + \vec{w}_2$$ is also in $$W$$.
3. For any vector $$\vec{w}_1$$ in $$W$$ and scalar $$a$$, the product $$a\vec{w}_1$$ is also in $$W$$.

Therefore it suffices to prove these three steps to show that a set is a subspace.

Consider the following example.

## Example $$\PageIndex{2}$$: Improper Subspaces

Let $$V$$ be an arbitrary vector space. Then $$V$$ is a subspace of itself. Similarly, the set $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$ containing only the zero vector is also a subspace.

Solution

Using the subspace test in Procedure $$\PageIndex{1}$$ we can show that $$V$$ and $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$ are subspaces of $$V$$.

Since $$V$$ satisfies the vector space axioms it also satisfies the three steps of the subspace test. Therefore $$V$$ is a subspace.

Let’s consider the set $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$.

1. The vector $$\vec{0}$$ is clearly contained in $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$, so the first condition is satisfied.
2. Let $$\vec{w}_1, \vec{w}_2$$ be in $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$. Then $$\vec{w}_1 = \vec{0}$$ and $$\vec{w}_2 = \vec{0}$$ and so $\vec{w}_1 + \vec{w}_2 = \vec{0} + \vec{0} = \vec{0}\nonumber$ It follows that the sum is contained in $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$ and the second condition is satisfied.
3. Let $$\vec{w}_1$$ be in $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$ and let $$a$$ be an arbitrary scalar. Then $a\vec{w}_1 = a\vec{0} = \vec{0}\nonumber$ Hence the product is contained in $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$ and the third condition is satisfied.

It follows that $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$ is a subspace of $$V$$.

The two subspaces described above are called improper subspaces. Any subspace of a vector space $$V$$ which is not equal to $$V$$ or $$\left\{ \vec{0} \right\}$$ is called a proper subspace.

Below is a video on determining if the subset of vectors <a,b,1> is a subspace in $$R^3$$.

Consider another example.

## Example $$\PageIndex{3}$$: Subspace of Polynomials

Let $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ be the vector space of polynomials of degree two or less. Let $$W \subseteq \mathbb{P}_2$$ be all polynomials of degree two or less which have $$1$$ as a root. Show that $$W$$ is a subspace of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$.

Solution

First, express $$W$$ as follows: $W = \left\{ p(x) = ax^2 +bx +c, a,b,c, \in \mathbb{R} | p(1) = 0 \right\}\nonumber$

We need to show that $$W$$ satisfies the three conditions of Procedure $$\PageIndex{1}$$.

1. The zero polynomial of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ is given by $$0(x) = 0x^2 + 0x + 0 = 0$$. Clearly $$0(1) = 0$$ so $$0(x)$$ is contained in $$W$$.
2. Let $$p(x), q(x)$$ be polynomials in $$W$$. It follows that $$p(1) = 0$$ and $$q(1) = 0$$. Now consider $$p(x) + q(x)$$. Let $$r(x)$$ represent this sum. \begin{aligned} r(1) &= p(1) + q(1) \\ &= 0 + 0 \\ &= 0\end{aligned} Therefore the sum is also in $$W$$ and the second condition is satisfied.
3. Let $$p(x)$$ be a polynomial in $$W$$ and let $$a$$ be a scalar. It follows that $$p(1) = 0$$. Consider the product $$ap(x)$$. \begin{aligned} ap(1) &= a(0) \\ &= 0\end{aligned} Therefore the product is in $$W$$ and the third condition is satisfied.

It follows that $$W$$ is a subspace of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$.

Recall the definition of basis, considered now in the context of vector spaces.

## Definition $$\PageIndex{2}$$: Basis

Let $$V$$ be a vector space. Then $$\{\vec{v}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{n}\}$$ is called a basis for $$V$$ if the following conditions hold.

1. $$\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{v}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{n}\right\} = V$$
2. $$\{\vec{v}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{n}\}$$ is linearly independent

Consider the following example.

## Example $$\PageIndex{4}$$: Polynomials of Degree Two

Let $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ be the set polynomials of degree no more than 2. We can write $$\mathbb{P}_2=\mathrm{span}\left\{ x^{2}, x, 1\right\} .$$ Is $$\left\{ x^{2}, x, 1\right\}$$ a basis for $$\mathbb{P}_2$$?

Solution

It can be verified that $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ is a vector space defined under the usual addition and scalar multiplication of polynomials.

Now, since $$\mathbb{P}_2=\mathrm{span}\left\{ x^{2},x, 1\right\}$$, the set $$\left\{ x^{2}, x, 1\right\}$$ is a basis if it is linearly independent. Suppose then that $ax^{2}+bx+c=0x^2 + 0x + 0\nonumber$ where $$a,b,c$$ are real numbers. It is clear that this can only occur if $$a=b=c=0$$. Hence the set is linearly independent and forms a basis of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$.

The next theorem is an essential result in linear algebra and is called the exchange theorem.

## Theorem $$\PageIndex{3}$$: Exchange Theorem

Let $$\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{x}_{r}\right\}$$ be a linearly independent set of vectors such that each $$\vec{x}_{i}$$ is contained in span$$\left\{ \vec{y}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{s}\right\} .$$ Then $$r\leq s.$$

Proof

The proof will proceed as follows. First, we set up the necessary steps for the proof. Next, we will assume that $$r > s$$ and show that this leads to a contradiction, thus requiring that $$r \leq s$$.

Define span$$\left\{ \vec{y}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{s}\right\} = V.$$ Since each $$\vec{x}_i$$ is in span$$\left\{ \vec{y}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{s}\right\}$$, it follows there exist scalars $$c_{1},\cdots ,c_{s}$$ such that $\vec{x}_{1}=\sum_{i=1}^{s}c_{i}\vec{y}_{i} \label{lincomb}$ Note that not all of these scalars $$c_i$$ can equal zero. Suppose that all the $$c_i=0$$. Then it would follow that $$\vec{x}_{1}=\vec{0}$$ and so $$\left\{ \vec{x} _{1},\cdots ,\vec{x}_{r}\right\}$$ would not be linearly independent. Indeed, if $$\vec{x}_{1}=\vec{0}$$, $$1\vec{x}_{1}+\sum_{i=2}^{r}0 \vec{x}_{i}=\vec{x}_{1}=\vec{0}$$ and so there would exist a nontrivial linear combination of the vectors $$\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots , \vec{x}_{r}\right\}$$ which equals zero. Therefore at least one $$c_i$$ is nonzero.

Say $$c_{k}\neq 0.$$ Then solve $$\eqref{lincomb}$$ for $$\vec{y}_{k}$$ and obtain $\vec{y}_{k}\in \mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\overset{\text{s-1 vectors here}}{\overbrace{\vec{y}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{k-1},\vec{y} _{k+1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{s}}}\right\} .\nonumber$ Define $$\left\{ \vec{z}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{z}_{s-1}\right\}$$ to be $\left\{ \vec{z}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{z}_{s-1}\right\} = \left\{ \vec{y}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{k-1},\vec{y}_{k+1},\cdots ,\vec{y} _{s}\right\}\nonumber$ Now we can write $\vec{y}_{k}\in \mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1}, \vec{z}_{1},\cdots, \vec{z}_{s-1}\right\}\nonumber$ Therefore, $$\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\vec{z}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{z }_{s-1}\right\}=V$$. To see this, suppose $$\vec{v}\in V$$. Then there exist constants $$c_{1},\cdots ,c_{s}$$ such that $\vec{v}=\sum_{i=1}^{s-1}c_{i}\vec{z}_{i}+c_{s}\vec{y}_{k}.\nonumber$ Replace this $$\vec{y}_{k}$$ with a linear combination of the vectors $$\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\vec{z}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{z}_{s-1}\right\}$$ to obtain $$\vec{v}\in \mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\vec{z} _{1},\cdots ,\vec{z}_{s-1}\right\} .$$ The vector $$\vec{y}_{k},$$ in the list $$\left\{ \vec{y}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{s}\right\} ,$$ has now been replaced with the vector $$\vec{x}_{1}$$ and the resulting modified list of vectors has the same span as the original list of vectors, $$\left\{ \vec{y }_{1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{s}\right\} .$$

We are now ready to move on to the proof. Suppose that $$r>s$$ and that $\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots , \vec{x}_{l},\vec{z}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{z}_{p}\right\} =V\nonumber$ where the process established above has continued. In other words, the vectors $$\vec{z}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{z}_{p}$$ are each taken from the set $$\left\{ \vec{y}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{y}_{s}\right\}$$ and $$l+p=s.$$ This was done for $$l=1$$ above. Then since $$r>s,$$ it follows that $$l\leq s<r$$ and so $$l+1\leq r.$$ Therefore, $$\vec{x}_{l+1}$$ is a vector not in the list, $$\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{x}_{l}\right\}$$ and since $\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{x}_{l},\vec{z} _{1},\cdots ,\vec{z}_{p}\right\} =V\nonumber$ there exist scalars, $$c_{i}$$ and $$d_{j}$$ such that $\vec{x}_{l+1}=\sum_{i=1}^{l}c_{i}\vec{x}_{i}+\sum_{j=1}^{p}d_{j} \vec{z}_{j}. \label{lincomb2}$ Not all the $$d_{j}$$ can equal zero because if this were so, it would follow that $$\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{x}_{r}\right\}$$ would be a linearly dependent set because one of the vectors would equal a linear combination of the others. Therefore, $$\eqref{lincomb2}$$ can be solved for one of the $$\vec{z}_{i},$$ say $$\vec{z}_{k},$$ in terms of $$\vec{x}_{l+1}$$ and the other $$\vec{z}_{i}$$ and just as in the above argument, replace that $$\vec{z}_{i}$$ with $$\vec{x}_{l+1}$$ to obtain $\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots \vec{x}_{l},\vec{x}_{l+1}, \overset{\text{p-1 vectors here}}{\overbrace{\vec{z}_{1},\cdots \vec{z} _{k-1},\vec{z}_{k+1},\cdots ,\vec{z}_{p}}}\right\} =V\nonumber$ Continue this way, eventually obtaining $\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{x}_{s}\right\} =V.\nonumber$ But then $$\vec{x}_{r}\in$$ $$\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{x}_{1},\cdots , \vec{x}_{s}\right\}$$ contrary to the assumption that $$\left\{ \vec{x} _{1},\cdots ,\vec{x}_{r}\right\}$$ is linearly independent. Therefore, $$r\leq s$$ as claimed.

The following corollary follows from the exchange theorem.

## Corollary $$\PageIndex{2}$$: Two Bases of the Same Length

Let $$B_1$$, $$B_2$$ be two bases of a vector space $$V$$. Suppose $$B_1$$ contains $$m$$ vectors and $$B_2$$ contains $$n$$ vectors. Then $$m = n$$.

Proof

By Theorem $$\PageIndex{3}$$, $$m\leq n$$ and $$n\leq m$$. Therefore $$m=n$$.

This corollary is very important so we provide another proof independent of the exchange theorem above.

Proof

Suppose $$n > m.$$ Then since the vectors $$\left\{ \vec{u} _{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{m}\right\}$$ span $$V,$$ there exist scalars $$c_{ij}$$ such that $\sum_{i=1}^{m}c_{ij}\vec{u}_{i}=\vec{v}_{j}.\nonumber$ Therefore, $\sum_{j=1}^{n}d_{j}\vec{v}_{j}=\vec{0} \text{ if and only if }\sum_{j=1}^{n}\sum_{i=1}^{m}c_{ij}d_{j}\vec{u}_{i}= \vec{0}\nonumber$ if and only if $\sum_{i=1}^{m}\left( \sum_{j=1}^{n}c_{ij}d_{j}\right) \vec{u}_{i}=\vec{ 0}\nonumber$ Now since $$\{\vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{n}\}$$ is independent, this happens if and only if $\sum_{j=1}^{n}c_{ij}d_{j}=0,\;i=1,2,\cdots ,m.\nonumber$ However, this is a system of $$m$$ equations in $$n$$ variables, $$d_{1},\cdots ,d_{n}$$ and $$m<n.$$ Therefore, there exists a solution to this system of equations in which not all the $$d_{j}$$ are equal to zero. Recall why this is so. The augmented matrix for the system is of the form $$\left [ \begin{array}{c|c} C & \vec{0} \end{array} \right ]$$ where $$C$$ is a matrix which has more columns than rows. Therefore, there are free variables and hence nonzero solutions to the system of equations. However, this contradicts the linear independence of $$\left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{m}\right\}$$. Similarly it cannot happen that $$m > n$$.

Given the result of the previous corollary, the following definition follows.

## Definition $$\PageIndex{3}$$: Dimension

A vector space $$V$$ is of dimension $$n$$ if it has a basis consisting of $$n$$ vectors.

Notice that the dimension is well defined by Corollary $$\PageIndex{2}$$. It is assumed here that $$n<\infty$$ and therefore such a vector space is said to be finite dimensional.

## Example $$\PageIndex{5}$$: Dimension of a Vector Space

Let $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ be the set of all polynomials of degree at most $$2$$. Find the dimension of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$.

Solution

If we can find a basis of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ then the number of vectors in the basis will give the dimension. Recall from Example $$\PageIndex{4}$$ that a basis of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ is given by $S = \left\{ x^2, x, 1 \right\}\nonumber$ There are three polynomials in $$S$$ and hence the dimension of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ is three.

It is important to note that a basis for a vector space is not unique. A vector space can have many bases. Consider the following example.

## Example $$\PageIndex{6}$$: A Different Basis for Polynomials of Degree Two

Let $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ be the polynomials of degree no more than 2. Is $$\left\{ x^{2}+x+1,2x+1,3x^{2}+1\right\}$$ a basis for $$\mathbb{P}_2$$?

Solution

Suppose these vectors are linearly independent but do not form a spanning set for $$\mathbb{P}_2$$. Then by Lemma 9.3.2, we could find a fourth polynomial in $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ to create a new linearly independent set containing four polynomials. However this would imply that we could find a basis of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ of more than three polynomials. This contradicts the result of Example $$\PageIndex{5}$$ in which we determined the dimension of $$\mathbb{P}_2$$ is three. Therefore if these vectors are linearly independent they must also form a spanning set and thus a basis for $$\mathbb{P}_2$$.

Suppose then that \begin{aligned} a\left( x^{2}+x+1\right) +b\left( 2x+1\right) +c\left( 3x^{2}+1\right) &= 0\\ \left( a+3c\right) x^{2}+\left( a+2b\right) x+\left( a+b+c\right) &= 0 \end{aligned} We know that $$\left\{ x^2, x, 1 \right\}$$ is linearly independent, and so it follows that \begin{aligned} a+3c &= 0 \\ a+2b &= 0 \\ a+b+c &= 0\end{aligned} and there is only one solution to this system of equations, $$a=b=c=0$$. Therefore, these are linearly independent and form a basis for $$\mathbb{P}_2$$.

Below is a video on determining which set of polynomials form a basis for $$P_2$$.

Consider the following theorem.

## Theorem $$\PageIndex{4}$$: Every Subspace has a Basis

Let $$W$$ be a nonzero subspace of a finite dimensional vector space $$V$$. Suppose $$V$$ has dimension $$n$$. Then $$W$$ has a basis with no more than $$n$$ vectors.

Proof

Let $$\vec{v}_{1}\in V$$ where $$\vec{v}_{1}\neq 0.$$ If $$\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{v}_{1}\right\} =V,$$ then it follows that $$\left\{ \vec{v} _{1}\right\}$$ is a basis for $$V$$. Otherwise, there exists $$\vec{v} _{2}\in V$$ which is not in $$\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{v}_{1}\right\} .$$ By Lemma 9.3.2 $$\left\{ \vec{v}_{1},\vec{v}_{2}\right\}$$ is a linearly independent set of vectors. Then $$\left\{ \vec{v}_{1},\vec{v} _{2}\right\}$$ is a basis for $$V$$ and we are done. If $$\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{v}_{1}, \vec{v}_{2}\right\} \neq V,$$ then there exists $$\vec{v}_{3}\notin \mathrm{ span}\left\{ \vec{v}_{1},\vec{v}_{2}\right\}$$ and $$\left\{ \vec{v} _{1},\vec{v}_{2},\vec{v}_{3}\right\}$$ is a larger linearly independent set of vectors. Continuing this way, the process must stop before $$n+1$$ steps because if not, it would be possible to obtain $$n+1$$ linearly independent vectors contrary to the exchange theorem, Theorem $$\PageIndex{3}$$.

If in fact $$W$$ has $$n$$ vectors, then it follows that $$W=V$$.

## Theorem $$\PageIndex{5}$$: Subspace of Same Dimension

Let $$V$$ be a vector space of dimension $$n$$ and let $$W$$ be a subspace. Then $$W=V$$ if and only if the dimension of $$W$$ is also $$n$$.

Proof

First suppose $$W=V.$$ Then obviously the dimension of $$W=n.$$

Now suppose that the dimension of $$W$$ is $$n$$. Let a basis for $$W$$ be $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{n}\right\}$$. If $$W$$ is not equal to $$V$$, then let $$\vec{v}$$ be a vector of $$V$$ which is not contained in $$W.$$ Thus $$\vec{v}$$ is not in $$\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w} _{n}\right\}$$ and by Lemma 9.7.2, $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{n},\vec{v}\right\}$$ is linearly independent which contradicts Theorem $$\PageIndex{3}$$ because it would be an independent set of $$n+1$$ vectors even though each of these vectors is in a spanning set of $$n$$ vectors, a basis of $$V$$.

Consider the following example.

## Example $$\PageIndex{7}$$: Basis of a Subspace

Let $$U=\left\{ A\in\mathbb{M}_{22} ~\left|~ A\left [\begin{array}{rr} 1 & 0 \\ 1 & -1 \end{array}\right ]\right. = \left [\begin{array}{rr} 1 & 1 \\ 0 & -1 \end{array}\right ] A \right\}$$. Then $$U$$ is a subspace of $$\mathbb{M}_{22}$$ Find a basis of $$U$$, and hence $$\dim(U)$$.

Solution

Let $$A=\left [\begin{array}{rr} a & b \\ c & d \end{array}\right ] \in\mathbb{M}_{22}$$. Then $A\left [\begin{array}{rr} 1 & 0 \\ 1 & -1 \end{array}\right ] = \left [\begin{array}{rr} a & b \\ c & d \end{array}\right ] \left [\begin{array}{rr} 1 & 0 \\ 1 & -1 \end{array}\right ] =\left [\begin{array}{rr} a+b & -b \\ c+d & -d \end{array}\right ]\nonumber$ and $\left [\begin{array}{rr} 1 & 1 \\ 0 & -1 \end{array}\right ] A = \left [\begin{array}{rr} 1 & 1 \\ 0 & -1 \end{array}\right ] \left [\begin{array}{rr} a & b \\ c & d \end{array}\right ] =\left [\begin{array}{cc} a+c & b+d \\ -c & -d \end{array}\right ].\nonumber$ If $$A\in U$$, then $$\left [\begin{array}{cc} a+b & -b \\ c+d & -d \end{array}\right ]= \left [\begin{array}{cc} a+c & b+d \\ -c & -d \end{array}\right ]$$.

Equating entries leads to a system of four equations in the four variables $$a,b,c$$ and $$d$$.

$\begin{array}{ccc} a+b & = & a + c \\ -b & = & b + d \\ c + d & = & -c \\ -d & = & -d \end{array}\nonumber$

or

$\begin{array}{rcc} b - c & = & 0 \\ -2b - d & = & 0 \\ 2c + d & = & 0 \end{array}.\nonumber$

The solution to this system is $$a=s$$, $$b=-\frac{1}{2}t$$, $$c=-\frac{1}{2}t$$, $$d=t$$ for any $$s,t\in\mathbb{R}$$, and thus $A=\left [\begin{array}{cc} s & \frac{t}{2} \\ -\frac{t}{2} & t \end{array}\right ] = s\left [\begin{array}{cc} 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 \end{array}\right ] + t\left [\begin{array}{rr} 0 & -\frac{1}{2} \\ -\frac{1}{2} & 1 \end{array}\right ] .\nonumber$ Let $B=\left\{ \left [\begin{array}{cc} 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 \end{array}\right ], \left [\begin{array}{rr} 0 & -\frac{1}{2} \\ -\frac{1}{2} & 1 \end{array}\right ]\right\}.\nonumber$ Then $$\mathrm{span}(B)=U$$, and it is routine to verify that $$B$$ is an independent subset of $$\mathbb{M}_{22}$$. Therefore $$B$$ is a basis of $$U$$, and $$\dim(U)=2$$.

Below is a video on determining which set of polynomials form a basis for $$P_3$$.

The following theorem claims that a spanning set of a vector space $$V$$ can be shrunk down to a basis of $$V$$. Similarly, a linearly independent set within $$V$$ can be enlarged to create a basis of $$V$$.

## Theorem $$\PageIndex{6}$$: Basis of $$V$$

If $$V=\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u} _{n}\right\}$$ is a vector space, then some subset of $$\{\vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{n}\}$$ is a basis for $$V.$$ Also, if $$\{\vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u} _{k}\}\subseteq V$$ is linearly independent and the vector space is finite dimensional, then the set $$\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{k}\},$$ can be enlarged to obtain a basis of $$V.$$

Proof

Let $S=\{E\subseteq \{\vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{n}\}\text{ such that } \mathrm{span}\left\{ E\right\} =V\}.\nonumber$ For $$E\in S,$$ let $$\left\vert E\right\vert$$ denote the number of elements of $$E.$$ Let $m= \min \{\left\vert E\right\vert \text{ such that }E\in S\}.\nonumber$ Thus there exist vectors $\{\vec{v}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{m}\}\subseteq \{\vec{u}_{1},\cdots , \vec{u}_{n}\}\nonumber$ such that $\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{v}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{m}\right\} =V\nonumber$ and $$m$$ is as small as possible for this to happen. If this set is linearly independent, it follows it is a basis for $$V$$ and the theorem is proved. On the other hand, if the set is not linearly independent, then there exist scalars, $$c_{1},\cdots ,c_{m}$$ such that $\vec{0}=\sum_{i=1}^{m}c_{i}\vec{v}_{i}\nonumber$ and not all the $$c_{i}$$ are equal to zero. Suppose $$c_{k}\neq 0.$$ Then solve for the vector $$\vec{v}_{k}$$ in terms of the other vectors. Consequently, $V=\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{v}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{k-1},\vec{v} _{k+1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{m}\right\}\nonumber$ contradicting the definition of $$m$$. This proves the first part of the theorem.

To obtain the second part, begin with $$\{\vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u} _{k}\}$$ and suppose a basis for $$V$$ is $\left\{ \vec{v}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{n}\right\}\nonumber$ If $\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{k}\right\} =V,\nonumber$ then $$k=n$$. If not, there exists a vector $\vec{u}_{k+1}\notin \mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u} _{k}\right\}\nonumber$ Then from Lemma 9.3.2, $$\{\vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{k}, \vec{u}_{k+1}\}$$ is also linearly independent. Continue adding vectors in this way until $$n$$ linearly independent vectors have been obtained. Then $\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{n}\right\} =V\nonumber$ because if it did not do so, there would exist $$\vec{u}_{n+1}$$ as just described and $$\left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{n+1}\right\}$$ would be a linearly independent set of vectors having $$n+1$$ elements. This contradicts the fact that $$\left\{ \vec{v}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{v}_{n}\right\}$$ is a basis. In turn this would contradict Theorem $$\PageIndex{3}$$. Therefore, this list is a basis.

Recall Example 9.3.4 in which we added a matrix to a linearly independent set to create a larger linearly independent set. By Theorem $$\PageIndex{6}$$ we can extend a linearly independent set to a basis.

## Example $$\PageIndex{8}$$: Adding to a Linearly Independent Set

Let $$S \subseteq M_{22}$$ be a linearly independent set given by $S = \left\{ \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 \end{array} \right ], \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 0 & 1 \\ 0 & 0 \end{array} \right ] \right\}\nonumber$ Enlarge $$S$$ to a basis of $$M_{22}$$.

Solution

Recall from the solution of Example 9.3.4 that the set $$R \subseteq M_{22}$$ given by $R = \left\{ \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 \end{array} \right ], \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 0 & 1 \\ 0 & 0 \end{array} \right ], \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 0 & 0 \\ 1 & 0 \end{array} \right ] \right\}\nonumber$ is also linearly independent. However this set is still not a basis for $$M_{22}$$ as it is not a spanning set. In particular, $$\left [ \begin{array}{rr} 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 \end{array} \right ]$$ is not in $$\mathrm{span} R$$. Therefore, this matrix can be added to the set by Lemma 9.3.2 to obtain a new linearly independent set given by $T = \left\{ \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 \end{array} \right ], \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 0 & 1 \\ 0 & 0 \end{array} \right ], \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 0 & 0 \\ 1 & 0 \end{array} \right ], \left [ \begin{array}{rr} 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 \end{array} \right ] \right\}\nonumber$

This set is linearly independent and now spans $$M_{22}$$. Hence $$T$$ is a basis.

Next we consider the case where you have a spanning set and you want a subset which is a basis. The above discussion involved adding vectors to a set. The next theorem involves removing vectors.

## Theorem $$\PageIndex{7}$$: Basis from a Spanning Set

Let $$V$$ be a vector space and let $$W$$ be a subspace. Also suppose that $$W=\mathrm{span}\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w} _{m}\right\}$$. Then there exists a subset of $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots , \vec{w}_{m}\right\}$$ which is a basis for $$W$$.

Proof

Let $$S$$ denote the set of positive integers such that for $$k\in S,$$ there exists a subset of $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w} _{m}\right\}$$ consisting of exactly $$k$$ vectors which is a spanning set for $$W$$. Thus $$m\in S$$. Pick the smallest positive integer in $$S$$. Call it $$k$$. Then there exists $$\left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{k}\right\} \subseteq \left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{m}\right\}$$ such that $$span \left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u}_{k}\right\} =W.$$ If $\sum_{i=1}^{k}c_{i}\vec{w}_{i}=\vec{0}\nonumber$ and not all of the $$c_{i}=0,$$ then you could pick $$c_{j}\neq 0$$, divide by it and solve for $$\vec{u}_{j}$$ in terms of the others. $\vec{w}_{j}=\sum_{i\neq j}\left( -\frac{c_{i}}{c_{j}}\right) \vec{w}_{i}\nonumber$ Then you could delete $$\vec{w}_{j}$$ from the list and have the same span. In any linear combination involving $$\vec{w}_{j}$$, the linear combination would equal one in which $$\vec{w}_{j}$$ is replaced with the above sum, showing that it could have been obtained as a linear combination of $$\vec{w}_{i}$$ for $$i\neq j$$. Thus $$k-1\in S$$ contrary to the choice of $$k$$. Hence each $$c_{i}=0$$ and so $$\left\{ \vec{u}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{u} _{k}\right\}$$ is a basis for $$W$$ consisting of vectors of $$\left\{ \vec{w} _{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{m}\right\}$$.

Consider the following example of this concept.

## Example $$\PageIndex{9}$$: Basis from a Spanning Set

Let $$V$$ be the vector space of polynomials of degree no more than 3, denoted earlier as $$\mathbb{P}_{3}$$. Consider the following vectors in $$V$$. \begin{aligned} &2x^{2}+x+1,x^{3}+4x^{2}+2x+2,2x^{3}+2x^{2}+2x+1, \\ &x^{3}+4x^{2}-3x+2,x^{3}+3x^{2}+2x+1\end{aligned} Then, as mentioned above, $$V$$ has dimension 4 and so clearly these vectors are not linearly independent. A basis for $$V$$ is $$\left\{ 1,x,x^{2},x^{3}\right\}$$. Determine a linearly independent subset of these which has the same span. Determine whether this subset is a basis for $$V$$.

Solution

Consider an isomorphism which maps $$\mathbb{R}^{4}$$ to $$V$$ in the obvious way. Thus $\left [ \begin{array}{c} 1 \\ 1 \\ 2 \\ 0 \end{array} \right ]\nonumber$ corresponds to $$2x^{2}+x+1$$ through the use of this isomorphism. Then corresponding to the above vectors in $$V$$ we would have the following vectors in $$\mathbb{R}^{4}.$$ $\left [ \begin{array}{c} 1 \\ 1 \\ 2 \\ 0 \end{array} \right ] ,\left [ \begin{array}{c} 2 \\ 2 \\ 4 \\ 1 \end{array} \right ] ,\left [ \begin{array}{c} 1 \\ 2 \\ 2 \\ 2 \end{array} \right ] ,\left [ \begin{array}{r} 2 \\ -3 \\ 4 \\ 1 \end{array} \right ] ,\left [ \begin{array}{c} 1 \\ 2 \\ 3 \\ 1 \end{array} \right ]\nonumber$ Now if we obtain a subset of these which has the same span but which is linearly independent, then the corresponding vectors from $$V$$ will also be linearly independent. If there are four in the list, then the resulting vectors from $$V$$ must be a basis for $$V$$. The reduced row-echelon form for the matrix which has the above vectors as columns is $\left [ \begin{array}{rrrrr} 1 & 0 & 0 & -15 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 & 0 & 11 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 1 & -5 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \end{array} \right ]\nonumber$ Therefore, a basis for $$V$$ consists of the vectors \begin{aligned} &2x^{2}+x+1,x^{3}+4x^{2}+2x+2,2x^{3}+2x^{2}+2x+1, \\ &x^{3}+3x^{2}+2x+1.\end{aligned} Note how this is a subset of the original set of vectors. If there had been only three pivot columns in this matrix, then we would not have had a basis for $$V$$ but we would at least have obtained a linearly independent subset of the original set of vectors in this way.

Note also that, since all linear relations are preserved by an isomorphism, \begin{aligned} &-15\left( 2x^{2}+x+1\right) +11\left( x^{3}+4x^{2}+2x+2\right) +\left( -5\right) \left( 2x^{3}+2x^{2}+2x+1\right) \\ =&x^{3}+4x^{2}-3x+2\end{aligned}

Consider the following example.

## Example $$\PageIndex{10}$$: Shrinking a Spanning Set

Consider the set $$S \subseteq \mathbb{P}_2$$ given by $S = \left\{ 1, x, x^2, x^2 + 1 \right\}\nonumber$ Show that $$S$$ spans $$\mathbb{P}_2$$, then remove vectors from $$S$$ until it creates a basis.

Solution

First we need to show that $$S$$ spans $$\mathbb{P}_2$$. Let $$ax^2 + bx + c$$ be an arbitrary polynomial in $$\mathbb{P}_2$$. Write $ax^2 + bx + c = r(1) + s(x) + t(x^2) + u (x^2 + 1)\nonumber$ Then, \begin{aligned} ax^2 +bx + c &= r(1) + s(x) + t(x^2) + u (x^2 + 1) \\ &= (t+u) x^2 + s(x) + (r+u) \end{aligned}

It follows that \begin{aligned} a &= t + u \\ b &= s \\ c &= r + u \end{aligned}

Clearly a solution exists for all $$a,b,c$$ and so $$S$$ is a spanning set for $$\mathbb{P}_2$$. By Theorem $$\PageIndex{6}$$, some subset of $$S$$ is a basis for $$\mathbb{P}_2$$.

Recall that a basis must be both a spanning set and a linearly independent set. Therefore we must remove a vector from $$S$$ keeping this in mind. Suppose we remove $$x$$ from $$S$$. The resulting set would be $$\left\{ 1, x^2, x^2 + 1 \right\}$$. This set is clearly linearly dependent (and also does not span $$\mathbb{P}_2$$) and so is not a basis.

Suppose we remove $$x^2 + 1$$ from $$S$$. The resulting set is $$\left\{ 1, x, x^2 \right\}$$ which is both linearly independent and spans $$\mathbb{P}_2$$. Hence this is a basis for $$\mathbb{P}_2$$. Note that removing any one of $$1, x^2$$, or $$x^2 + 1$$ will result in a basis.

Now the following is a fundamental result about subspaces.

## Theorem $$\PageIndex{8}$$: Basis of a Vector Space

Let $$V$$ be a finite dimensional vector space and let $$W$$ be a non-zero subspace. Then $$W$$ has a basis. That is, there exists a linearly independent set of vectors $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{r}\right\}$$ such that $\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{r}\right\} =W\nonumber$ Also if $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{s}\right\}$$ is a linearly independent set of vectors, then $$W$$ has a basis of the form $$\left\{ \vec{w} _{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{s},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{r}\right\}$$ for $$r\geq s$$.

Proof

Let the dimension of $$V$$ be $$n$$. Pick $$\vec{w}_{1}\in W$$ where $$\vec{w}_{1}\neq \vec{0}.$$ If $$\vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{s}$$ have been chosen such that $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{s}\right\}$$ is linearly independent, if $$span\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w} _{r}\right\} =W,$$ stop. You have the desired basis. Otherwise, there exists $$\vec{w}_{s+1}\notin span\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w} _{s}\right\}$$ and $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots , \vec{w}_{s},\vec{w}_{s+1}\right\}$$ is linearly independent. Continue this way until the process stops. It must stop since otherwise, you could obtain a linearly independent set of vectors having more than $$n$$ vectors which is impossible.

The last claim is proved by following the above procedure starting with $$\left\{ \vec{w}_{1},\cdots ,\vec{w}_{s}\right\}$$ as above.

This also proves the following corollary. Let $$V$$ play the role of $$W$$ in the above theorem and begin with a basis for $$W$$, enlarging it to form a basis for $$V$$ as discussed above.

## Corollary $$\PageIndex{3}$$: Basis Extension

Let $$W$$ be any non-zero subspace of a vector space $$V$$. Then every basis of $$W$$ can be extended to a basis for $$V$$.

Consider the following example.

## Example $$\PageIndex{11}$$: Basis Extension

Let $$V=\mathbb{R}^{4}$$ and let $W=\mathrm{span}\left\{ \left [ \begin{array}{c} 1 \\ 0 \\ 1 \\ 1 \end{array} \right ] ,\left [ \begin{array}{c} 0 \\ 1 \\ 0 \\ 1 \end{array} \right ] \right\}\nonumber$ Extend this basis of $$W$$ to a basis of $$V$$.

Solution

An easy way to do this is to take the reduced row-echelon form of the matrix $\left [ \begin{array}{cccccc} 1 & 0 & 1 & 0 & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 & 0 & 1 & 0 & 0 \\ 1 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 & 0 \\ 1 & 1 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 \end{array} \right ] \label{vectorspaceeq1}$ Note how the given vectors were placed as the first two and then the matrix was extended in such a way that it is clear that the span of the columns of this matrix yield all of $$\mathbb{R}^{4}$$. Now determine the pivot columns. The reduced row-echelon form is $\left [ \begin{array}{rrrrrr} 1 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 & 0 & 0 & -1 & 1 \\ 0 & 0 & 1 & 0 & -1 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 1 & 1 & -1 \end{array} \right ] \label{vectorspaceeq2}$ These are $\left [ \begin{array}{c} 1 \\ 0 \\ 1 \\ 1 \end{array} \right ] ,\left [ \begin{array}{c} 0 \\ 1 \\ 0 \\ 1 \end{array} \right ] ,\left [ \begin{array}{c} 1 \\ 0 \\ 0 \\ 0 \end{array} \right ] ,\left [ \begin{array}{c} 0 \\ 1 \\ 0 \\ 0 \end{array} \right ]\nonumber$ and now this is an extension of the given basis for $$W$$ to a basis for $$\mathbb{R}^{4}$$.

Why does this work? The columns of $$\eqref{vectorspaceeq1}$$ obviously span $$\mathbb{R} ^{4}$$ the span of the first four is the same as the span of all six.

This page titled 9.4: Subspaces and Basis is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Ken Kuttler (Lyryx) .