Gilbert Baumslag, B.H. Neumann, Hanna Neumann, and Peter M. Neumann successfully exploited their concept of discrimination to obtain generating groups of product varieties via the wreath product construction. We have discovered this same underlying concept in a somewhat different context. Specifically, let V be a non-trivial variety of algebras. For each cardinal α let Fα(V) be a V-free algebra of rank α. Then for a fixed cardinal r one has the equivalence of the following two statements:
(1) Fr(V) discriminates V. (1*) The Fs(V) satisfy the same universal sentences for all s≥r. Moreover, we have introduced the concept of strong discrimination in such a way that for a fixed finite cardinal r the following two statements are equivalent:
(2) Fr(V) strongly discriminates V. (2*) The Fs(V) satisfy the same universal formulas for all s ≥ r whenever elements of Fr(V) are substituted for the unquantified variables. On the surface (2) and (2*) appear to be stronger conditions than (1) and (1*). However, we have shown that for particular varieties (of groups) (2) and (2*) are no stronger than (1) and (1*).