## 47.2 Essential surjections and injections

We will mostly work in categories of modules, but we may as well make the definition in general.

Definition 47.2.1. Let $\mathcal{A}$ be an abelian category.

1. An injection $A \subset B$ of $\mathcal{A}$ is essential, or we say that $B$ is an essential extension of $A$, if every nonzero subobject $B' \subset B$ has nonzero intersection with $A$.

2. A surjection $f : A \to B$ of $\mathcal{A}$ is essential if for every proper subobject $A' \subset A$ we have $f(A') \not= B$.

Lemma 47.2.2. Let $\mathcal{A}$ be an abelian category.

1. If $A \subset B$ and $B \subset C$ are essential extensions, then $A \subset C$ is an essential extension.

2. If $A \subset B$ is an essential extension and $C \subset B$ is a subobject, then $A \cap C \subset C$ is an essential extension.

3. If $A \to B$ and $B \to C$ are essential surjections, then $A \to C$ is an essential surjection.

4. Given an essential surjection $f : A \to B$ and a surjection $A \to C$ with kernel $K$, the morphism $C \to B/f(K)$ is an essential surjection.

Proof. Omitted. $\square$

Lemma 47.2.3. Let $R$ be a ring. Let $M$ be an $R$-module. Let $E = \mathop{\mathrm{colim}}\nolimits E_ i$ be a filtered colimit of $R$-modules. Suppose given a compatible system of essential injections $M \to E_ i$ of $R$-modules. Then $M \to E$ is an essential injection.

Proof. Immediate from the definitions and the fact that filtered colimits are exact (Algebra, Lemma 10.8.8). $\square$

Lemma 47.2.4. Let $R$ be a ring. Let $M \subset N$ be $R$-modules. The following are equivalent

1. $M \subset N$ is an essential extension,

2. for all $x \in N$ nonzero there exists an $f \in R$ such that $fx \in M$ and $fx \not= 0$.

Proof. Assume (1) and let $x \in N$ be a nonzero element. By (1) we have $Rx \cap M \not= 0$. This implies (2).

Assume (2). Let $N' \subset N$ be a nonzero submodule. Pick $x \in N'$ nonzero. By (2) we can find $f \in R$ with $fx \in M$ and $fx \not= 0$. Thus $N' \cap M \not= 0$. $\square$

Comment #2538 by Dario Weißmann on

The statement of 45.2.4 (2) should read: for all $x \in N$ nonzero ...

Comment #3442 by Sebastian Bozlee on

The second-to-last sentence of the proof of Lemma 08XM should read: By (2) we can find $f \in R$ with $fx \in M$ and $fx \neq 0$.

I also have to ask if a compatible system of essential injections $E_i \to M$ yielding an essential injection $E \to M$ was intended in Lemma 08XL. Both statements are true, but it feels odd not to invoke the universal property of the colimit to get the map between E and M.

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