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$\dim(U_1+U_2) = \dim U_1 +\dim U_2 – \dim(U_1\cap U_2).$

I want to make sure that my intuition is correct. Suppose we have two planes $U_1,U_2$ though the origin in $\mathbb{R^3}$. Since the planes meet at the origin, they also intersect, which in this case is a one-dimensional line in $\mathbb{R^3}$. To obtain the dimension of $U_1$ and $U_2$, we add the dimensions of the planes (4), and the subtract the dimensions of the line (1), which results in (3).

*additional question(s):

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Can we generalize this notion to $\mathbb{F^{n}}$?

Suppose we have an additional case where $U_1$ and $U_2$ are planes in $\mathbb{R^3}$, but $U_1 \subseteq U_2$. In this instance, $dim(U_1 + U_2) < 3$, because the first two-dimensional plane is contained in the second and as a result, the dimensions of the subspaces when summed cannot exceed two. Since both subspaces $U_1,U_2$ are two dimensional and $U_1 \subseteq U_2$, then their intersection is also two-dimensional, concluding $dim(U_1+U_2)=2+2-2 = 2$.

Is this proper intuition?

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In the latter case, they are actually the *same* plane, so their sum is again the same plane (as they are closed under addition).

Here is another (analogous) way to think about it. Let’s start with a basis $B_0$ for $U_1\cap U_2.$ We can extend $B_0$ to a basis $B_1$ for $U_1$ and a basis $B_2$ for $U_2$. Then $B_1\cup B_2$ is a basis for $U_1+U_2,$ and $B_1\cap B_2=B_0,$ so $$\begin{align}\dim(U_1+U_2) &= |B_1\cup B_2|\\ &= |B_1|+|B_2|-|B_1\cap B_2|\\ &= |B_1|+|B_2|-|B_0|\\ &= \dim(U_1)+\dim(U_2)-\dim(U_1\cap U_2).\end{align}$$ This generalizes nicely to $\Bbb F^n$, and allows us to avoid geometric arguments that may be less sensible for an arbitrary field $\Bbb F$.

Also, it will never be the case that the intersection of two planes in space is precisely $\{0\}.$ If there were two such planes $U_1$ and $U_2,$ then we would have $$\dim(U_1+U_2)=\dim(U_1)+\dim(U_2)-\dim(U_1\cap U_2)=2+2-0=4>3=\dim(\Bbb R^3),$$ which is not possible, since $U_1+U_2$ is a subspace of $\Bbb R^3$.

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