Adding an edge to a tree creates a cycle - is my proof correct?

by user25783   Last Updated May 16, 2018 14:20 PM

I saw you answered similar questions here, but I wanted to know if I can prove the theorem (= adding an edge to a tree creates a cycle) also like this:

It is known that the definition of a tree, is that it's-

1. connected,

2. with no cycles,

3. and with $n$ vertices and $n-1$ edges.

Also, it is known that a cycle has-

* equal number of vertices and edges, suppose- $n$ edges and $n$ vertices.

Therefore, when we add one edge to a tree, the tree contains now $n$ edges $((n-1)+1),$ and it is exactly the number of its vertices, so it contains a cycle now.

Is this whole proof correct?



Answers 1


A cycle contains the same number of edges as vertices. But not every graph with this property is a cycle, so your final statement is unjustified.

Some six-vertex graphs with six edges you can find on The House of Graphs that aren't cycles are below (there's plenty of other examples if you'd like more).

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You may notice that all of these graphs contain a cycle, and in fact that's generally true, but this is precisely the statement you have to prove.

One approach might be to first find a subgraph which has minimum degree $2$, and then find a cycle inside this subgraph in the usual way.

Also, a final nitpick: usually, only the first two properties you gave (connected and has no cycles) are the definition of being a tree. The third property, of course, is likely to be something you prove about trees fairly early on, starting from that definition.

Misha Lavrov
Misha Lavrov
May 16, 2018 14:15 PM

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