A relationship it’s a link or one correspondence. In the case of mathematical relationship, It’s about the correspondence between two sets: each element of the first set corresponds to at least one element of the second set.

When each element of a set corresponds only to one of the other, we speak of function. This means that mathematical functions are always, in turn, mathematical relations, but that relations are not always functions.

Mathematical link

Mathematical relations establish the correspondence between two sets.

Characteristics of mathematical relationships

In a mathematical relationship, the first set is known as domain, while the second set is called rank or route. The mathematical relationships between them can be graphed in the scheme called Cartesian plane.

Suppose the domain is named M and the range, N. A mathematical relation of M on N will be a subset of the Cartesian product M x N. The relations, in other words, will be ordered pairs that link elements of M with elements of N.

Yes M = {5, 7} and N = {3, 6, 8}, the Cartesian product of M x N will be the following ordered pairs:

M x N = {(5, 3), (5, 6), (5, 8), (7, 3), (7, 6), (7, 8)}

With this product Cartesian, you can define different relationships. The mathematical relationship of the set of pairs whose second element is less than 7 it is R = {(5, 3), (5, 6), (7, 3), (7, 6)}

Another mathematical relationship that can be defined is that of the set of pairs whose second element is pair: R = {(5, 6), (5, 8), (7, 6), (7, 8)}


Numbers can appear in the Cartesian product.

Application of the concept

The Applications Mathematical relationships transcend the limits of science, since in our daily lives we tend to make use of its principles, often unconsciously. Humans, buildings, appliances, movies, and friends, among many others, are some of the sets most common of interest to our species, and on a daily basis we establish relationships between them to organize ourselves and participate in our activities.

According to the number of sets that participate in the Cartesian product, it is possible to recognize various types of mathematical relationships, some of which are briefly defined below.

Unary relationship

A unary relationship occurs when a single set is observed, and it can be defined as the subset of the elements that belong to it and fulfill a condition determined, expressed in the relationship. For example, within the set of natural numbers, we can define a unary relation (which we will call P) of the even numbers, so that of all the elements of this set, we will take those that respond to said condition and we will form a subset, which begins as follows: P = {2,4,6,8,…}

Binary relationship

As its name implies, this mathematical relationship starts from two sets, and therefore the complexity increases considerably. The elements of both can be related in more ways, and the resulting subsets are expressed as ordered pairs, as demonstrated in previous paragraphs. In mathematics, this is often the background in many of the more common functions, which have as variables Y Y x, since we are looking for a pair of values ​​(one from each axis) that allow solving a equation (that meet the condition).

Ternary relationship

When we define a condition that elements of three different sets must meet, we speak of a ternary relationship, and the result is one or more shortlist (the equivalent of ordered pairs but with three elements). Returning to the set of natural numbers, which allows us to make simple calculations, an example of a mathematical relationship of this type is that in which a – b = c, so we could get a subset that starts like this: R = {(3,2,1), (4,3,1), (5,3,2),…}