glossory, Mathematics

Divisibility by 4

If a number is divisible by 4, it has to be divisible by 2. Hence the digit in the units place must be one of 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8. But look at the following numbers: 10, 22, 34, 46, and 58. We see that last digit in each of these numbers is as required, yet none of them is divisible by 4.  Thus, we can conclude that it is not possible to decide the divisibility on just reading the last digit. Perhaps, the last two digits may help.

If a number has two digits, we may decide the divisibility by actually dividing it by 4. All we need is to remember the multiplication table for 4. Suppose the given number is large, say it has more than 2 digits. Consider the numbers, for example, 112 and 122.  We see that 112 is divisible by 4. But 112 = 100 + 22; here 100 is divisible by 4 but 22 is not. Hence 122 is not divisible by 4.

We invoke the following fundamental principle on divisibility:

STATEMENT: If a and b are integers which are divisible by an integer m ≠ 0, then m divides a+b, a-b and ab.

Now, let us see how does this help us to decide the divisibility of a large number by 4. Suppose we have number a with more than 2 digits. Divide this number by 100 to get a quotient q and remainder r; a = 100q + r, where 0 ≤ r < 100. Since 4 divides 100, you will immediately see that a is divisible by a 4 if and only if r is divisible by 4. But r is the number formed by the last two digits of a. Thus we may arrive at the following test:

STATEMENT : A number (having more than 2 digit ) is divisible by 4 if and only if the 2 digit number formed by the last two digits of a is divisible by 4.

Example 1: Check whether 12456 is divisible by 4.


Here, the number formed by the last two digits is 56. This is divisible by 4 and hence so is 12456.

Example 5: Is the number 12345678 divisible by 4?


The number formed by the last 2 digits is 78, which is not divisible by 4. Hence the given number is not divisible by 4.


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