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Injective, Surjective and Bijective

"Injective, Surjective and Bijective" tell you about how a


function behaves.
A function is a way of matching the members of a set
"A" to a set "B":

A General Function points from each member of "A"


to a member of "B".
To be a function you never have one "A" pointing to
more than one "B", so one-to-many is not OK in a
function (as you would have something like "f(x) =
7 or9")
But more than one "A" can point to the same "B"
(many-to-one is OK)

Injective means that every member of "A" has its


own unique matching member in "B".
As it is also a function one-to-many is not OK
And you won't get two "A"s pointing to the same "B",
so many-to-one is NOT OK.
But you can have a "B" without a matching "A"
Injective functions can be reversed!
If "A" goes to a unique "B" then given that "B" value
you can go back again to "A" (this would not work if
two or more "A"s pointed to one "B" like in the
"General Function")
Read Inverse Functions for more.
Injective is also called "One-to-One"
Surjective means that every "B" has at least
one matching "A" (maybe more than one).
There won't be a "B" left out.
Bijective means both Injective and Surjective
together.

So there is a perfect "one-to-one correspondence"


between the members of the sets.
(But don't get that confused with the term "One-toOne" used to mean injective).

On The Graph
Let me show you on a graph what a "General Function" and
a "Injective Function" looks like:

General Function

"Injective" (one-to-one)

In fact you can do a "Horizontal Line Test":


To be Injective, a Horizontal Line should never intersect the
curve at 2 or more points.
(Note: Strictly Increasing (and Strictly Decreasing)
functions are Injective, you might like to read about them for
more details)

Formal Definitions
OK, stand by for some details about all this:
Injective

A function f is injective if and only if whenever f(x) =


f(y), x = y.
Example: f(x) = x+5 from the set of real numbers
to

is an injective function.

This function can be easily reversed. for example:

f(3) = 8
Given 8 we can go back to 3

Example: f(x) = x2 from the set of real numbers


to
is not an injective function because of
this kind of thing:

f(2) = 4 and

f(-2) = 4
This is against the definition f(x) = f(y), x = y,
because f(2) = f(-2) but 2 -2

In other words there are two values of "A" that point to


one "B", and this function could not be reversed (given
the value "4" ... what produced it?)
BUT if we made it from the set of natural numbers
to
then it is injective, because:

f(2) = 4

there is no f(-2), because -2 is not a natural number

Surjective (Also Called "Onto")

A function f (from set A to B) is surjective if and only for


every y in B, there is at least one x in Asuch that f(x)
= y, in other words f is surjective if and only if f(A) = B.
So, every element of the range corresponds to at least one
member of the domain.
Example: The function f(x) = 2x from the set of
natural numbers

to the set of non-

negative even numbers is a surjective function.


However, f(x) = 2x from the set of natural numbers
to
in

is not surjective, because, for example, nothing


can be mapped to 3 by this function.

Bijective

A function f (from set A to B) is bijective if, for


every y in B, there is exactly one x in A such thatf(x) = y
Alternatively, f is bijective if it is a one-to-one
correspondence between those sets, in other words
both injective and surjective.
Example: The function f(x) = x2 from the set of
positive real numbers to positive real numbers is
injective and surjective. Thus it is also bijective.
But not from the set of real numbers
because you
could have, for example, both

f(2)=4 and

f(-2)=4

The function from set A to set B is

A general function

Injective, but not surjective (one to one)

Surjective, but not injective (onto)

Bijective (a one-to-onecorresponden

Question 3

Functions (Algebra 1, Easy)

Help

The function from set A to set B is

A general function

Injective, but not surjective (one to one)

Surjective, but not injective (onto)

Bijective (a one-to-on

Question 4

Functions (Algebra 1, Easy)

Help

The function from set A to set B is

A general function

Injective, but not surjective (one to one)

Surjective, but not injective (onto)

Bijective (a one-to-one

Question 5

Functions (Algebra 1, General)

Help
Which of the following functions is NOT injective?

f(x) = x3 + 4 from R to R

f(x) = x3 + 4 from N to N

f(x) = x2 + 4 from R to R

f(x) = x2 + 4 from N to N

Question 2

Functions (Algebra 1, Easy)

Help

The function from set A to set B is