Explain Arden’s Theorem in TOC.

Arden’s theorem helps in checking the equivalence of two regular expressions.

Arden’s Theorem

Let, P and Q be two regular expressions over the input set Σ. The regular expression R is given as follows −


This has a unique solution as R=QP*.


Let, P and Q be the two regular expressions over the input string Σ.

If P does not contain ε then there exists R such that

R= Q+RP-----------------------equation 1

We will replace R by QP* in equation 1

Consider Right hand side (R.H.S) of equation 1

= Q+QP*P


=QP* since R*R=R* according to identity

Thus R=QP* is proved.

To prove that R=QP* is a unique solution, we will now replace left hand side (L.H.S) of eq 1 by Q+RP

Then it becomes, Q+RP

But again, R can be replaced by Q+RP


Q+RP = Q+(Q+RP)P


Again, replace R by Q+RP



Thus, if we go on replacing R by Q+RP then we get,



From equation 1

R = Q(ε+P+P2+…….+Pi)+RPi+1 ---------------equation 2

Where i>=0

Consider equation 2

R= Q(ε+P+P2+…….+Pi)+RPi+1

R= QP*+RPi+1

Let w be a string of length i

In RPi+1 has no string of less than i+1 length.


  • w is not in set RPi+1
  • R and QP* represent the same set.

Hence, it is proved that

R=Q+RP has a unique solution