Is S3 Abelian

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As a tech enthusiast and someone who loves diving into intricate details of mathematical concepts, I’m excited to explore the question: Is the S3 group abelian? The S3 group, also known as the symmetric group on three elements, is a fascinating topic in abstract algebra.

To understand whether the S3 group is abelian or not, let’s first discuss what it means for a group to be abelian. An abelian group, also known as a commutative group, is a group in which the order of the group elements does not affect the result of the group operation. In simpler terms, the elements can be rearranged without changing the outcome.

The S3 group consists of all possible permutations of three elements. Permutations are a way to rearrange the elements of a set, and in the case of the S3 group, we are considering permutations of three elements. Let’s denote the elements of the S3 group as (1), (12), (13), (23), (123), and (132), where (1) represents the identity element.

Now, let’s examine the group operation, which is composition of permutations. For example, if we consider the permutation (12) and (13), their composition would result in (123), as the element 1 is mapped to 2 by (12) and then mapped to 3 by (13). Similarly, performing the composition (13) followed by (12) would result in (132).

To determine if the S3 group is abelian, we need to check if the order of composition affects the result. Let’s choose two elements from the S3 group, (12) and (13), and perform their composition:

(12) * (13) = (123)

Now, let’s reverse the order and perform their composition:

(13) * (12) = (132)

Comparing the two results, we see that the order of composition does indeed affect the outcome. Therefore, the S3 group is not abelian.

It’s worth noting that the S3 group is an example of a non-abelian group, which is a group that does not satisfy the abelian property. Non-abelian groups often exhibit interesting and sometimes counterintuitive behaviors, making them valuable additions to the study of abstract algebra.


The question of whether the S3 group is abelian has been thoroughly explored, and the answer is clear: the S3 group is not abelian. By examining the composition of permutations within the S3 group, we have observed that the order of composition affects the outcome. This fascinating group serves as an example of a non-abelian group, illustrating the rich variety and intricacies of abstract algebra. As we continue to delve into mathematical concepts, let us embrace the beauty of both abelian and non-abelian groups and the insights they provide.