Definition of Sets

A set is a collection of objects, things or symbols which are clearly defined. The individual objects in a set are called the members or elements of the set. A set must be properly defined so that we can find out whether an object is a member of the set.

There are two ways of doing this. 1. Listing the elements The set can be defined by listing all its elements, separated by commas and enclosed within braces. Example: B = {2, 4, 6, 8, 10} X = {a, b, c, d, e} However, in some instances, it is impossible to list all the elements of a set. In such cases, we define the set by method 2.

2. Describing the elements
The set can be defined, where possible, by describing the elements. Example: C = {x : x is an integer, x > ± 3 } This is read as: ³C is the set of elements x such that x is an integer greater than ±3.´ D= {x: x is a river in a river}

We should describe a certain property which all the elements x, in a set, have in common so that we can know whether a particular thing belongs to the set. We relate a member and a set using the symbol . If an object x is an element ofset A, we write x A. If an object z is not an element of set A, we write z A. denotes ³is an element of¶ or ³is a member of´ or ³belongs to´

denotes ³is not an element of´ or ³is not a member of´ or ³does not belong to´ Example:
If A = {1, 3, 5} then 1 A and 2 A

Set Notation
We start with the most basic set notation - the symbol showing membership. The individual objects in a set are called the members or elements of the set . We relate a member and a set using the symbol . If an object x is an element of set A, we write x A. If an object z is not an element of set A, we write z A. denotes ³is an element of¶ or ³is a member of´ or ³belongs to´ denotes ³is not an element of´ or ³is not a member of´ or ³does not belong to´ Example:
If A = {1, 3, 5} then 1 A and 2 A

Finite sets are sets that have a finite number of members. If the elements of a finite set are listed one after another, the process will eventually ³run out´ of elements to list. Example: A = {0, 2, 4, 6, 8, «, 100} C = {x : x is an integer, 1 < x < 10} An infinite set is a set which is not finite. It is not possible to explicitly list out all the elements of an infinite set. Example: T = {x : x is a triangle} N is the set of natural numbers A is the set of fractions The number of elements in a finite set A is denoted by n(A).

±1. John} Q = {Dick. O } . 5} and n(D) = 8 If Q is the set of letters in the word µHELLO¶ then Q = {H. John. We call a set with no elements the null or empty set. 6. and we write P = Q. Harry.Example: If A is the set of positive integers less than 12 then A = {1. 0. the set of months with 32 days. E. 6. Harry. L. . 6. 4. 9. 4. 4. For example. 8} S = {2. 7. 10. It is represented by the symbol { } or Ø . 9. 11} and n(A) = 11 If C is the set of numbers which are also multiples of 3 then C = {3. 8. Consider the sets: R = {2. 6. 1. 4. 2. Some other example of null sets are: The set of dogs with six legs. 10} Since R and S do not contain exactly the same members. The set of squares with 5 sides. The set of cars with 20 doors. 3. Set Equality Consider the sets: P ={Tom. here are some sets that do not conatin any element at all. «} and C is an infinite set If D is the set of integers x defined by ±3 < x < 6 then D = {±2. we say that P is equal to Q. 5. 8. 3. The order in which the members appear in the set is not important. Dick. n(Q) = 4 µL¶ is not repeated. we say that R is not equal to S and we write R  S. 2. The set of integers which are both even and odd. Tom} Since P and Q contain exactly the same number of members and the memebers are the same.

4. 6. 18. 8. and we write P = Q. Dick. we say that P is equal to Q. Harry. 20. 4. Example: Given the set P is the set of even numbers between 15 and 25.Set Equality Consider the sets: P ={Tom. usually circles or ovals. Harry. 10} Since R and S do not contain exactly the same members. 22. Solution: List out the elements of P. the sets are represented by shapes. John} Q = {Dick. Tom} Since P and Q contain exactly the same number of members and the memebers are the same. 24} µbetween¶ does not include 15 and 25 . The elements of a set are labelled within the circle. The order in which the members appear in the set is not important. John. Consider the sets: R = {2. 8} S = {2. 6. P = {16. In a Venn diagram. Draw and label a Venn diagram to represent the set P and indicate all the elements of set P in the Venn diagram. we say that R is not equal to S and we write R  S Set Theory: Venn Diagrams We can also represent sets using Venn diagrams.

Label it R . Solution: Draw a circle or oval. we need to first solve for x. Put the elements in P. Solution: Since an equation is given. Example: Given the set Q = {x : 2x ± 3 < 11. 2x ± 3 < 11 2x < 14 x < 7 . Label it P . Draw and label a Venn diagram to represent the set Q. x is a positive integer }.Draw a circle or oval. Wednesday}. Put the elements in R. Example: Draw and label a Venn diagram to represent the set R = {Monday. Tuesday.

5. 5}. 4. A B because every element in A is also in B. 3. if A B and B A then A = B Example: List all the subsets of the set Q = {x. for any set A. y.e. 4. z} The number of subsets for a finite set A is given by the formula: Number of subsets = 2 n(A) . {x}. 2. Q = {1. A A The empty set is a subset of any set A i. 2. {x. Note: y y y Every set is a subset of itself i. y. 6}. y}.So. z}and {x. 3. {x. 3. Set Theory: Subsets If every element of a set B is also a member of a set A. 6} Draw a circle or oval.e. Put the elements in Q. {y. 5} So. We use the symbol to mean is a subset of and the symbol to mean is not a subset of . Y = {2. 5. Ø A For any two sets A and B. 3. X Y because 1 is in X but not in Y. Label it Q . 3. X = {1. z} Solution: The subsets of Q are { }. then we say B is a subset ofA. {y}. B = {1. 4. Example: A = {1. 5}. {z}. z}.

denoted by capital U or sometimes capital E. y. 3. 5} and B = {1. How many subsets will Q have? Solution: n(Q) = 3 Number of subsets = 23 = 8 Example: Draw a Venn diagram to represent the relationship between the sets. A = {1. 4. z}.where n(A) = number of elements in the finite set A Example: Q = {x. 3. Set Theory: Universal Set A universal set is the set of all elements under consideration. 2. . 5} Solution: Since A is a subset of B: Step 1: Draw circle A within the circle B Step 2 : Write down the elements in circle A. Step 3 : Write down the remaining elements in circle B.

a) A = {x : x is a factor of 60} b) B = {x : x is a prime number} Solution: The elements of sets A and B can only be selected from the given universal set U . 4. a) A = {5. 5. A = {1. 2. 2. Example: Draw a Venn diagram to represent the following sets: U = {1. 6. the universal set is usually represented by a rectangle and labelled U. Label the circles and write the relevant elements in each circle. 6. B = {3.Example: Given that U = {5. 8. 7. Step 2 : Draw circles within the rectangle to represent the other sets. 9} Solution: Step 1 : Draw a rectangle and label it U to represent the universal set. 12} b) B = {5. . 12}. 7. 9. 7. 3. 11. list the elements of the following sets. 10. 6}. 11} In Venn diagrams. 5. 8. 6. 9}. Step 3 : Write the remaining elements outside the circles but within the rectangle. 10.

2. ±2. is the set of all elements in the universal set that are not in A. P = {±4. denoted by A¶ . P and P ¶ c) Find n(Q) . 5. ±1. 4. 6} and Q ¶ = {±3. ±2. 3}.Complement Of A Set The complement of set A. n(A) + n(A ¶ ) = n( U ) Example: Let U = {x : x is an integer. ±4 ” x ” 7}. 2. a) List the elements of set P ¶ b) Draw a Venn diagram to display the sets U . The number of elements of A and the number of elements of A ¶ make up the total number of elements in U . 0.

Solution: a) First. . P and P ¶ c) Find n(Q) n( U ) = 12. ±1. 6. list out the members of U. 5. 1. ±2. 4. 3. 3. U = {±4. It is denoted by X Y and is read µX intersection Y¶. n(Q ¶ ) = 5 Use the formula: n(Q) + n(Q ¶ ) = n( U ) n(Q) = n( U ) ± n(Q ¶ ) = 12 ± 5 = 7 Set Operations Sets Intersection: Intersection Of Two Sets The intersection of two sets X and Y is the set of elements that are common to both set X and set Y. ±3. 0. ±1. 7} P ¶ = {±3. 2. 7} in U but not in P b) Draw a Venn diagram to display the sets U . 1.

10} Solution: We find that X Y = {1. We will illustrate this relationship in the following example. Step 2 : Write down the elements in the intersection. 6.Example: Draw a Venn diagram to represent the relationship between the sets X = {1. 5. 5. 6. 3. Step 3 : Write down the remaining elements in the respective sets. If X Y then X Y = X . 4. Example: Draw a Venn diagram to represent the relationship between the sets X = {1. 6. Step 1 : Draw two overlapping circles to represent the two sets. 6. 8. 9} . Notice that you start filling the Venn diagram from the elements in the intersection first. 3. 6. 7. 8. 5. 2. 9. 5. 10} in both X and Y For the Venn diagram. 10} and Y = {1. 9} and Y = {1.

7. 7. It is denoted by X Y Z Example: Draw a Venn diagram to represent the relationship between the sets X = {1. 3. 5. 6. 5. 8} and Z = {3. 9}. 5. 6. 10} Solution: We find that X Y Z = {5. 6. Step 1 : Draw one circle within another circle Step 2 : Write down the elements in the inner circle. 4. 8.Solution: We find that X Y = {1. 2. Intersection Of Three Sets The intersection of three sets X. 6. . Y and Z is the set of elements that are common to sets X. X Y = {1. 5. 9} which is equal to the set X For the Venn diagram. 6}. Y and Z. Y = {1. 6}. Step 3 : Write down the remaining elements in the outer circle.

6. 5. 7} For the Venn diagram: Step 1 : Draw three overlapping circles to represent the three sets. there are many ways that 3 sets may intersect. Y Z and X Z Step 4 : Write down the remaining elements in the respective sets.Y Z = {3. Again. Some examples are shown below. Step 2 : Write down the elements in the intersection X Y Z Step 3 : Write down the remaining elements in the intersections: X Y. . In general. 8} and X Z = {5. 6. notice that you start filling the Venn diagram from the elements in the intersection first.

3. a) Draw a Venn diagram to illustrate ( X b) Find ( X Solution: a) First. 6. 5. 5. 4. It is denoted by (X Y) Example: Suppose U = set of positive integers less than 10. 6} Y)¶ Y)¶ Fill in the other elements for X and Y and for U .Complement Of The Intersection Of Sets The complement of the set X Y is the set of elements that are members of the universal set U but not members of X Y. 8} . 7} and Y = {1. 5. 2. fill in the elements for X Y = {1. 6. X = {1.

2. Y and draw a Venn diagram to illustrate X Y. 2. . 8. 4. 7. 5. 7. 10} X = {1. 3. 6. 4. 8.Shade the region outside X Y to indicate (X Y)¶ b) We can see from the Venn diagram that (X Y ) ¶ = {2. 3. 4. 7. 7. 5. 6. 7} and Y = {1. 9} Y = {1. 8. 3. 4. 4. 5. which are in A or in B or in both. It is denoted by A B and is read µA union B¶ Example : Given U = {1. 9} Union Of Sets The union of two sets A and B is the set of elements. 8} Find X Solution: X Y = {1. 2. 6} and so Or we find that X (X Y ) ¶ = {2. 6. 3. 5. 8} 1 is written only once. 3.

6. 7} and Y = {1. 8. 3. 4. 6. 6. The complement of the set X Y is the set of elements that are members of the universal set U but are not in X Y. 3. 9} and Y = {1. 2. 10} X = {1. 8. 3. 2. 7. It is denoted by (X Y ) ¶ Example: Given: U = {1.If X Y then X Y = Y. 4. 5. 4. 6. 6. 6. 5. 8. 9} Y and draw a Venn diagram to illustrate X Y. 3. Example: Given U = {1. 8} a) Draw a Venn diagram to illustrate ( X Y)¶ . We will illustrate this relationship in the following example. 9} Find X Solution: X Y = {1. 5. 5. 7. 8. 3. 2. 9} X = {1. 5.

7. 6. 2. 10} a) First. 5. B = The set of factors of 24 and C = {3. fill in the elements for X Y = {1} Fill in the other elements for X and Y and for U Shade the region outside X Y to indicate (X Y)¶ b) We can see from the Venn diagram that (X Y ) ¶ = {9} Y = {1. 3. fill in the elements for A B C = {3}. 3}. 3. B = {1. . A B {1. 8} and so Or we find that X (X Y ) ¶ = {9} Example: Given U = {x : 1 ” x ”10. find: i) (A B ) ¶ ii) (A C ) ¶ iii) (A B C)¶ Solution: A = {1. 5.b) Find ( X Solution: Y)¶ a) First. 3. 4. 9}. 8} and C = {3. 2. 10}. x is an integer}. 7. 6. b) Using the Venn diagram or otherwise. A = The set of odd numbers. a) Draw a Venn diagram to show the relationship. 4.

B C = {3} and then the other elements. 4. P = {1. union and complement of sets. 4. 6. Other operations are performed from left to right. G = {x : x is a prime number}. x is an integer}. 3. b) We can see from the Venn diagram that i) (A ii) (A iii) (A B ) ¶ = {10} C ) ¶ = {2. List the elements of: a) G b) (G H P H P) ¶ . 8} B C)¶={} Combined Operations Combined operations involve the intersection.A C = {3}. Perform the operations within brackets first. Example: Given that U = {x : 1 ” x ” 10. 5}. 2. H = {x : x is an even number}.

3. 8. 4. 7} d) (P = {9} H G) ¶ (G H) = {9} (G H) {2} = { } Drawing Venn Diagrams First. 8. 5} b) (G P) ¶ H = {2. 2. 5} H = {2. 2. 5. 3. 7}. 3. There could be several ways to describe the relationships. We would draw A within B if we know that: All members of A belongs to B or A or n(A B) = n(A) B or A B = B or A B=A We would draw A overlap B if we know that: . 4. 6. 5. 4. H = {2. 10} a) G H P = {2} P G H = {2} = {1. we need to determine the relationships between the sets such as subsets and intersections. 3. 5. 10} c) H ¶ (G P)=H¶ {1. 7} = {1.c) H ¶ d) (P Solution: (G H P) G) ¶ (G H) G = {2. 5. 6. 3. 3. 4.

we determine the relationships between the sets. I = the set of isosceles triangles. Draw a Venn diagram to illustrate these sets. (within) I  Ø (overlap) Q = Ø (disjoint) Some right-angled triangles may be isosceles. Q = the set of equilateral triangles and R = the set of right-angled triangles. All equilateral triangles are isosceles.Some members of A belongs to B or A B  Ø or n(A B)0 We would draw disjoint sets A and B if we know that No members of A belongs to B or A Example: B = Ø or n(A B)=0 U = the set of triangles. R Right-angled triangles can never be equilateral. Solution: First. R Then we draw the Venn diagram: . so Q I.

Y. Identity Laws (a) X » = X (c) X « = (b) X » U = U (d) X « U = X 6.Set-theoretic equalities There are a number of general laws about sets which follow from the definitions of settheoretic operations. etc. Consistency Principle (a) X Õ Y iff X » Y = Y (b) X Õ Y iff X « Y = X We will see later that operations on subsets of a set form a Boolean algebra. Associative Laws (a) (X » Y) » Z = X » (Y » Z) (b) (X « Y) «Z = X « (Y « Z) 4. A useful selection of these is shown below. Distributive Laws (a) X » (Y « Z) = (X » Y) « (X » Z) (b) X « (Y » Z) = (X « Y) » (X « Z) 5. These equations below hold for any sets X. Z: 1. They are grouped under their traditional names. DeMorgan s Laws (a) (X » Y) = X « Y (b) (X « Y) = X » Y 8. . Complement Laws (a) X » X = U (c) X « X = (b) (X ) = X (d) X Y = X « Y 7. subsets. Idempotent Laws (a) X » X = X (b) X « X = X 2. Commutative Laws (a) X » Y = Y » X (b) X « Y = Y « X 3.

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