Euclid's Division Lemma

Euclid's Division Lemma
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In this mini-lesson, we will learn about the Euclid division lemma by understanding the Euclid division algorithm, the division using Euclid division lemma, and how to apply them while solving problems. We will also discover interesting facts around them.

Paul wants to plant some saplings in his backyard.

He has 48 sapling plants with him.

euclid division lemma sapling in a row

He is making 9 rows such that he can plant 5 saplings in each row.

If he plants the saplings in the above way, he can plant a total of \(5 \times 9 = 45\) sapling plants.

The sapling plants remaining with him would be \(48 - 45 = 3\)

We can write the above scenario mathematically as:

Euclid division lemma shown mathematically

The above scenario shows the way of representing the division of positive integers with the help of Euclid's division lemma.

Now let's explore Euclid's division lemma in this lesson.

Lesson Plan

What Is Euclid’s Division Lemma?

Euclid’s Division Lemma (lemma is similar to a theorem) says that given two positive integers, \(a\) and \(b\), there exists unique integers, \(q\) and \(r\), such that:

\[\boxed{a = bq + r,\;0 \leqslant r < b}\]

The integer \(q\) is the quotient and the integer \(r\) is the remainder.

The quotient and the remainder are unique.

In simple words, Euclid's Division Lemma statement is that if we divide an integer by another integer (non-zero integer), we will get a unique integer as qoutient and a unique integer as remainder

Here are some examples of the application of this lemma:

\[23 = 2 \times 11 + 1 \\[0.2cm]
54 = 7 \times 7 + 5 \\[0.2cm]
63 = 9 \times 7 + 0\]

Euclid division lemma examples for 23, 54, and 63

How to Divide Integers Using Euclid’s Lemma?

Euclid’s lemma or Euclid's Division Lemma statement says that for given two positive integers, \(a\) and \(b\), there exists unique integers \(q\) and \(r\) such that:

\[a = bq + r,\;0 \leqslant r < b\]

So, let's take \(a = 9\) and \(b = 1\) 

\[9 = 1 \times 9 + 0\]

Here, \(q = 9\) and \(r = 0\), we can clearly see that \(0 \leqslant r < 1\)

Now, let's take \(a = 9\) and \(b = 2\) 

\[9 = 2 \times 4 + 1\]

Here, \(q = 4\) and \(r = 1\), we can clearly see that \(0 \leqslant r < 2\)

Now, let's take \(a = 9\) and \(b = 3\) 

\[9 = 3 \times 3 + 0\]

Here, \(q = 3\) and \(r = 3\), we can clearly see that \(0 \leqslant r < 3\)

Now, let's take \(a = 9\) and \(b = 4\) 

\[9 = 4 \times 2 + 1\]

Here, \(q = 2\) and \(r = 1\), we can clearly see that \(0 \leqslant r < 4\)

We can observe that when we divide two integers using the Euclid lemma division algorithm, we can always get a non-negative integral remainder which is always less than the divisor.

What Is the Use of Euclid's Division Lemma?

Euclid's division lemma has many uses.

Let's learn about two of the most important uses of this algorithm.

Calculating HCF of Two Numbers

We use Euclid's division lemma to find the HCF of large numbers which is typically difficult to calculate using basic HCF calculation techniques.

The HCF of two numbers can be calculated with the help of Euclid's division lemma by following these steps.

Let's take two numbers for which we need to find the HCF.

\(c\) and \(d\) are two numbers such that \(c > d\).

Step 1:- Apply Euclid’s division lemma to \(c\) and \(d\). We can find whole numbers, \(q\) and \(r\) such that \(c = dq + r,\;0 \leqslant r < d\).

Step 2:- If \(r = 0\), \(d\) is the HCF of \(c\) and \(d\). If \(r \neq 0\), apply the division lemma to \(d\) and \(r\).

Step 3:- Continue the process till the remainder is zero. The divisor at this stage will be the required HCF.


Use Euclid’s algorithm to find the HCF of 4052 and 12576.


We can observe that 12576 > 4052, hence \(c = 12576\) and \(d = 4052\). 

According to Euclid's division lemma, we have:

\[12576 = 4052 \times 3 + 420\]

Here the remainder \(420 \neq 0\), we again apply Euclid's division lemma to 4052 and 420

\[4052 = 420 \times 9 + 272\]

Let's repeat the same process until we get the remainder 0

hcf using euclids division lemma

Since the remainder is now zero, we can stop the process.

The divisor at this stage is 4; the HCF of 12576 and 4052 is 4

Explore the HCF calculator below to find the HCF of any two numbers using Euclid's division lemma.

Finding Properties of Numbers

We can understand the various properties of odd and even numbers using Euclid's division lemma.


Show that every positive even integer is of the form \(2q\) and that every positive odd integer is of the form \(2q + 1\), where \(q\) is some integer.


Assume \(a\) is a positive integer and \(b = 2\).

By Euclid’s algorithm, we can write:

\[a = 2q + r\]

Where \(q \geq 0\) and \(r\) can take either \(0\) or \(1\) by the rule \(0 \leqslant r < b\)

Thus, \(a = 2q\) or \(a = 2q + 1\).

If \(a\) is of the form \(2q\), then \(a\) is an even integer, and if \(a\) is of the form \(2q + 1\), then it is an odd integer.

For example, if we substitute \(q = 1, 2\), and \(3\) then \(a = 2q\) is even

\(a = 2 \times 1 = 2\)
\(a = 2 \times 2 = 4\)
\(a = 2 \times 3 = 6\)

And, if we substitute \(q = 1, 2\), and \(3\) then \(a = 2q + 1\) is odd

\(a = 2 \times 1 + 1= 3\)
\(a = 2 \times 2 + 1= 5\)
\(a = 2 \times 3 + 1= 7\)

Thinking out of the box
Think Tank
  1. Does Euclid’s Division Lemma hold if \(a\) is a negative integer?
  2. Find any positive even integer of the form \(6q\), \(6q + 2\) or \(6q + 4\) where \(q\) is some integer.

Solved Examples on Euclid's Division Lemma

Example 1



Paul knows that \(n\) is an odd integer.

He wants to prove that \(n^2 - 1\) is a multiple of 8

Can you help him?


By Euclid’s Division Lemma, \(n\) can be written as:

\[n = 2k + 1,\;k \in \mathbb{Z}\]


\[\begin{align}&{n^2} - 1 \;= {\left( {2k + 1} \right)^2} - 1\\& \qquad\quad= \left( {4{k^2} + 4k + 1} \right) - 1\\& \qquad\quad= 4{k^2} + 4k\\&\qquad\quad = 4k\left( {k + 1} \right) & \end{align}\]

Note that the product \(k(k+1)\) will always be even.

This is because either \(k\) is even, or \(k + 1\) is even.


\(4k(k + 1)\), must be a multiple of 8.

\[\therefore n^2 - 1 \text{ is a multiple of 8 }\]

Example 2



Paul is emptying two water tanks that are filled with water using a jug.

The water tanks have capacities of 420 liters and 130 liters.

What is the maximum capacity of the jug he should use so that no water remains in the tanks?

Two water tanks are shown. One is of capacity 420 litres and the other is of 130 litres.



The capacities of tanks are 420 liters and 130 liters.

To find the maximum capacity of the jug, we need to find the HCF of 420 and 130.

Let's apply Euclid's division lemma to calculate the HCF of these numbers.

\[420 = 130 \times 3 + 30 \\[0.2cm]
130 = 30 \times 4 + 10 \\[0.2cm]
30 = 10 \times 3 + 0 \]

The HCF of 420 and 130 is 10.

\(\therefore\) Maximum capacity of the jug is 10 liters.
Example 3



The cube of a positive integer is divided by 9.

What can be the possible remainders?


We have to use Euclid's Division Lemma to find the remainders. 

If we can express the cube of any positive integer in the form \(9q + r\), then we can solve the problem easily. 

We will then have to find what values \(r\) can take.

Let \(n\) be any positive integer.

Note that when we divide \(n\) by 3, we can get three possible remainders: 0, 1, or 2.

Thus, \(n\) can be written as:

\[\begin{align}&n = 3k\\&\quad{\rm{or}}\\&n = 3k + 1\\&\quad{\rm{or}}\\&n = 3k + 2\end{align}\]

Let's consider each case separately.

Case 1: In this case, we have:

\[{n^3} = {\left( {3k} \right)^3} = 27{k^3} = 9\left( {3{k^3}} \right)\]

Thus, the cube of \(n\) will be perfectly divisible by 9 in this case (the remainder will be 0).

Case 2: In this case, we have:

\[\begin{align}&{n^3} = {\left( {3k + 1} \right)^3}\\&\quad = {\left( {3k} \right)^3} + {\left( 1 \right)^3} + 3\left( {3k} \right)\left( 1 \right)\left( {3k + 1} \right)\\&\quad= 27{k^3} + 1 + 9k\left( {3k + 1} \right)\\&\quad = 9k\left( {3{k^2} + 3k + 1} \right) + 1\\&\quad = 9\left\{ {k\left( {3{k^2} + 3k + 1} \right)} \right\} + 1 & \end{align}\]

It is clear that on dividing the cube of \(n\) by 9, in this case, we will be left with a remainder of 1.

Case 3: In this case, we have:

\[\begin{align}&{n^3} = {\left( {3k + 2} \right)^3}\\&\quad= {\left( {3k} \right)^3} + {\left( 2 \right)^3} + 3\left( {3k} \right)\left( 2 \right)\left( {3k + 2} \right)\\&\quad = 27{k^3} + 8 + 18k\left( {k + 2} \right)\\&\quad= 9k\left( {3{k^2} + 2k + 4} \right) + 8\\&\quad = 9\left\{ {k\left( {3{k^2} + 2k + 4} \right)} \right\} + 8 & \end{align}\]

In this case, on dividing the cube of \(n\) by 9, we will be left with a remainder of 8.

Thus, we conclude that dividing the cube of a positive integer by 9 can yield three possible remainders:
\[\boxed{{\text{Three Possible Remainders: }}0,1,8}\]

In other words, the cube of any integer can be expressed as follows:

\[\begin{align}&{n^3} = 9k\\&\quad\;{\rm{or}}\\&{n^3} = 9k + 1\\&\quad\;{\rm{or}}\\&{n^3} = 9k + 8\end{align}\]

You can verify this result by taking some cubes and checking the remainders you obtain upon their division by 9.

\[\therefore \text{Possible remainders are 0, 1, 8}\]
important notes to remember
Important Notes
  1. When you divide one integer by another non-zero integer, you are left with a quotient and a remainder.
  2. The remainder is always less than the divisor.
  3. Euclid's lemma is used to calculate the HCF between large numbers. 

Interactive Questions on Euclid's Division Lemma

Here are a few activities for you to practice.

Select/Type your answer and click the "Check Answer" button to see the result.



Let's Summarize

The mini-lesson targeted the fascinating concept of Euclid's division lemma. The math journey around Euclid's division lemma started with what a student already knew about division and went on to creatively crafting the fresh concept of Euclids division lemma in the young minds. Done in a way that not only it is relatable and easy to grasp, but also will stay with them forever.

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FAQs on Euclid's Division Lemma

1. What is lemma and algorithm?

A lemma is a proven statement used for proving another statement.

An algorithm is a series of well-defined steps that give a procedure for solving a type of problem.

2. What is a lemma in Greek?

The word "lemma" is derived from an ancient Greek word which means "a thing that is received."

3. Is lemma a proof?

Yes, a lemma is an already proven statement.

In mathematics, lemmas are used to prove other results.

This is why lemma is sometimes called a "helping theorem." 

4. How do you use Euclid’s division algorithm?

Euclid's division lemma is used to find the HCF between two large numbers or it can be used to prove the properties of a number.

5. What is the difference between lemma and corollary?

A lemma is a proven statement used for proving another statement.

A corollary is a theorem that can be deduced from a previous, more notable statement. A corollary has lesser importance.

6. How do you find the HCF using Euclid's Division Lemma?

You can find the HCF between two numbers using Euclid's division lemma by following these steps.

7. What is Euclid's formula?

If \(a, b, c\) are Pythagorean triplets \(a^2 + b^2 = c^2\), then Euclid's formula suggests that.

\(a = m^2 - n^2\)
\(b = 2mn\)
\(c = m^2 + n^2\)

Where \(m\) and \(n\) are positive integers.

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