Tag Archives: free groups

the rank 3 free group is embeddable in the rank two free group

Let F=\langle x,y|\ \rangle be the rank two free group and U=\langle\{x^2,y^2,xy\}\rangle be a subgroup.
Observe that xy^{-1}=xy(y^2)^{-1}, then xy^{-1}\in U.

Clearly F=U\sqcup Ux, because it is not difficult to convince oneself that U consists on words of even length and xy^{-1}\in U implies Uy=Ux.

Technically, that is attending to the Schreier’s recipe, having \Sigma=\{1,x\} as a set of transversals and being S=\{x,y\} the free generators for F.

Set \Sigma S=\{x,\ y,\ x^2,\ xy\} and take \overline{\Sigma S}=\{1,x\}, then we get

\overline{\Sigma S}^{-1}=\{1,x^{-1}\}.

So according to Schreier’s language the set  \Sigma S\overline{\Sigma S}^{-1}=\{ gs\overline{gs}^{-1}|g\in\Sigma,s\in S\}, in our case, is

\{\ x\overline{x}^{-1}=1\ ,\ y\overline{y}^{-1}=yx^{-1}\ , \ x^2\overline{x^2}^{-1}=x^2\ ,\ xy\overline{xy}^{-1}=xy\ \}.

Hence \{\ xy^{-1}\ ,\ x^2\ ,\ xy\ \} are the free generator for U.

Note that this three word are the first three length-two-words in the alphabetical order, start by  1<x<x^{-1}<y<y^{-1} and continuing  to


. . .< yx<yx^{-1}<y^2<y^{-1}x<y^{-1}x^{-1}<y^{-2}



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