I have a doubt related to pumping lemma in CFL for which I dont find an answer, so I think is very easy because no one wonder about. The lemma says:

For every context-free language L, there exists a number m such that for every long string s in L (|s| > m

My doubt is: Is there any restriction related to strings u (the most left) and y (the most right), I mean can they be empty?.

In case they can, I cannot proof that a^nb^n is context-free because, for p=3, I could make vwx only a's or only b's and when pumping there will be different quantity of a's and b's.



1 Answer 1


They can be empty, but the pumping lemma is used to prove that a language is not context free.

It says that if a language is context free, such a configuration always exists, and it's the case for $a^nb^n$ as one can take $u=a^{n-1}, v=a, w=\varepsilon, x=b, y=b^{n-1}$. The lemma says that one such configuration exists, not that all configurations work.

To prove that $L$ is context free you would have for example to provide a context free grammar generating it.


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