Euclidean Geometry is

*constructive*. Postulates 1, 2, 3, and 5 assert the existence and uniqueness of certain geometric figures, and these assertions are of a constructive nature: that is, we are not only told that certain things exist, but are also given methods for creating them with no more than a

compass and an unmarked straightedge. In this sense, Euclidean geometry is more concrete than many modern axiomatic systems such as

set theory, which often assert the existence of objects without saying how to construct them, or even assert the existence of objects that cannot be constructed within the theory. Strictly speaking, the lines on paper are

*models* of the objects defined within the formal system, rather than instances of those objects. For example, a Euclidean straight line has no width, but any real drawn line will have. Though nearly all modern mathematicians consider

nonconstructive methods just as sound as constructive ones, Euclid's constructive proofs often supplanted fallacious nonconstructive ones—e.g., some of the Pythagoreans' proofs that involved irrational numbers, which usually required a statement such as "Find the greatest common measure of

Euclid often used

proof by contradiction. Euclidean geometry also allows the method of superposition, in which a figure is transferred to another point in space. For example, proposition I.4, side–angle–side congruence of triangles, is proved by moving one of the two triangles so that one of its sides coincides with the other triangle's equal side, and then proving that the other sides coincide as well. Some modern treatments add a sixth postulate, the rigidity of the triangle, which can be used as an alternative to superposition.