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Although one example can be used to prove that a conditional statement is false, in most cases, we cannot use examples to prove that a conditional statement is true. For example, in Progress Check 1.4, we substituted values for \(x\) for the conditional statement “If \(x\) is a positive real number, then \(x^2 + 8x\) is a positive real number.” For every positive real number used for \(x\), we saw that \(x^2 + 8x\) was positive. However, this does not prove the conditional statement to be true because it is impossible to substitute every positive real number for \(x\). So, although we may believe this statement is true, to be able to conclude it is true, we need to write a mathematical proof. Methods of proof will be discussed in Section 1.2 and Chapter 3.

Although one example can be used to prove that a conditional statement is false, in most cases, we cannot use examples to prove that a conditional statement is true. For example, in Progress Check 1.4, we substituted values for \(x\) for the conditional statement “If \(x\) is a positive real number, then \(x^2 + 8x\) is a positive real number.” For every positive real number used for \(x\), we saw that \(x^2 + 8x\) was positive. However, this does not prove the conditional statement to be true because it is impossible to substitute every positive real number for \(x\). So, although we may believe this statement is true, to be able to conclude it is true, we need to write a mathematical proof. Methods of proof will be discussed in Section 1.2 and Chapter 3. (Source: math.libretexts.org)

One of the most frequently used types of statements in mathematics is the so-called conditional statement. Given statements \(P\) and \(Q\), a statement of the form “If \(P\) then \(Q\)” is called a conditional statement. It seems reasonable that the truth value (true or false) of the conditional statement “If \(P\) then \(Q\)” depends on the truth values of \(P\) and \(Q\). The statement “If \(P\) then \(Q\)” means that \(Q\) must be true whenever \(P\) is true. The statement \(P\) is called the hypothesis of the conditional statement, and the statement \(Q\) is called the conclusion of the conditional statement. Since conditional statements are probably the most important type of statement in mathematics, we give a more formal definition. (Source: math.libretexts.org)