Proper subgroup

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This article defines a subgroup property: a property that can be evaluated to true/false given a group and a subgroup thereof, invariant under subgroup equivalence. View a complete list of subgroup properties[SHOW MORE]

This article is about a basic definition in group theory. The article text may, however, contain advanced material.
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Symbol-free definition

A subgroup of a group is said to be proper if it does not equal the whole group, or equivalently, if as a subset, it is a proper subset of the whole group.

Definition with symbols

A subgroup H of a group G is termed proper if H is not the whole of G.


The opposite of the property of being a proper subgroup is the property of being the improper subgroup, viz the whole group.

Relation with other properties

Related properties



This subgroup property is left-hereditary: any subgroup of a subgroup with this property also has this property. Hence, it is also a transitive subgroup property.

Any subgroup of a proper subgroup is proper. That is, if H \le K \le G and K is proper in G, so is H.


This subgroup property is right-hereditary: if a subgroup has the property in a group, it has the property in every bigger group. Hence, it is also a transitive subgroup property.

Any proper subgroup of a subgroup is proper. That is, if H \le K \le G and H is proper in K, H is also proper in G.