I just have general questions about sets and determining if they are regular languages.

i) If A is regular, and A is a subset of B, then B must be regular.

ii) If B is regular, and A is a subset of B, then A must be regular.

iii) If A and AB are regular, than B must be regular

iv) If Ai is an infinite family of regular sets, than the union of all those sets is regular.

For the third one, I know that AB can only be regular if B is regular, because a regular set * a irregular one is not regular.

Lost for the other ones.

  • $\begingroup$ You are wrong about iii: consider for example $A = \emptyset$ or $A = \Sigma^*$. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 15:44
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    – D.W.
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ We probably have a duplicate for every one of the four questions, too. $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ For iii, consider $A = a^*$, and $B = \{a^{n^2} \colon n \ge 0\}$, so $A = A B$ is regular, $B$ isn't. $\endgroup$
    – vonbrand
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ For iv, consider the infinite family of finite (regular) sets $A_i = \{a^{i^2}\}$, the infinite union is $\{a^{n^2} \colon n \ge 0\}$ $\endgroup$
    – vonbrand
    Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


Always think of boundary cases. In this case - the languages that contain every string or no string.

Also, let $N$ be some arbitrary non-regular language.

i) The language that contains no strings, which is regular, is a subset of $N$.

ii) $N$ is a subset of the language that contains all strings, which is regular.

iv) For every string $S_i$ in $N$, construct a set $L_i$ that contains only $S_i$. Note that all of these constructed sets are trivially regular. But the union of all of these (infinite number of) constructed sets is $N$, which is not regular.


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