Is there a common notation for the set of all injections from $A$ into $B$?

Some set-theorists use $B^{(A)}$, e.g., A. Levy in his book Basic Set Theory.

But some combinatorists use $B^{\underline{A}}$ or $(B)_A$, e.g. JMoravitz's answer in this question.

Some other combinatorists also use $\mathrm{Inj}(A,B)$, e.g., M. Aigner in his book Combinatorial Theory. But I don't like a notation of this kind, since I want something similar to $B^A$ or ${}^AB$ which is commonly used to denote the set of all maps from $A$ to $B$.

Any suggestions for a notation are welcome.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think this question is suitable here.. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2019 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ @Praphulla I'm sorry for that. If not, I will delete it tomorrow. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2019 at 5:07
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    $\begingroup$ Personally I think terminology and notation are worth topics. I would be curious to read the answer to this question $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2019 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ About $B^{(A)}$: at least in group theory, it is frequently used in another meaning. Namely $A$ is a set, $(B,o)$ is a pointed set (typically a group), and $B^{(A)}$ is the set of finitely supported functions $f:A\to B$, that is, such that $f(a)=o$ for all but finitely many $a\in A$. $\endgroup$
    – YCor
    Oct 24, 2019 at 11:29
  • $\begingroup$ @YCor A. Levy also has a similar concept in his book, but he uses $\mathrm{exp}(B,A)$. I also think $B^{(A)}$ is not good for denoting the set of injections. Besides the reason you just mentioned, some combinatorists use $B^{(A)}$ for another meaning, namely rising factorials. $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2019 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


The notation suggested by cardinal equalities such as

\begin{array}{l|l|l} \text{concept} & \text{notation} & \text{cardinality} \\ \hline \text{disjoint union of $A$ and $B$} & A + B & |A + B| = |A| + |B| \\ \text{Cartesian product of $A$ and $B$} & A \times B & |A \times B| = |A| \times |B| \\ \text{set of functions from $A$ to $B$, also $A \rightarrow B$} & B^A & |B^A| = |B|^{|A|} \\ \text{set of permutations of $A$, also $\text{Sym}(A)$} & A! & |A!| = |A|! \\ \text{set of $k$-element subsets of $A$} & \binom{A}{k} & \left|\binom{A}{k}\right| = \binom{|A|}{k} \\ \text{set of $k$-element partitions of $A$} & \left\{{A \atop k}\right\} & \left| \left\{{A \atop k}\right\} \right| = \left\{{|A| \atop k}\right\} \end{array}


\begin{array}{l|l|l} \text{concept} & \text{notation} & \text{cardinality} \\ \hline \text{set of injections from $A$ to $B$} & B^{\underline{A}} & |B^{\underline{A}}| = |B|^{\underline{|A|}} \end{array}

because the falling factorial

\begin{align*} |B|^\underline{|A|} = \frac{|B|!}{(|B| - |A|)!} \end{align*}

is precisely the number of injections from $A$ to $B$.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. This is one of the notations mentioned in the post. $\endgroup$ Oct 26, 2019 at 2:06

If I take your question literally, it seems to me that the correct answer is simply "No". But I quite happily use $B^A_{\neq}$. Analogously, if $A$ and $B$ happen to be ordered, I write $B^A_{<}$ for the set of all strictly increasing functions from $A$ to $B$. For me, this works well.

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    $\begingroup$ I didn't immediately notice this notation is not just arbitrary but views injections as maps between preserving the binary relation $\neq$. $\endgroup$
    – YCor
    Oct 25, 2019 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ With @YCor's convention, $B^A_<$ and $B^A_>$, the functions preserving $<$ and $>$, are the same. Is that really what's intended? $\endgroup$
    – LSpice
    May 19, 2021 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ @LSpice I think so. It might look a bit weird maybe because it uses the same notation for the binary relations at the source and target. So it might be denoted $B^A_{\neq,\neq}$, and $B^A_{<_A,<_B}=B^A_{>_A,>_B}$ would both be the set of strictly increasing maps $(A,<_A)\to (B,<_B)$. The decreasing ones would be $B^A_{<_A,>_B}=B^A_{>_A,<_B}$. More generally, if $R-$ denotes the flip of a binary relation $R$, the when $R,S$ are binary relations on $A,B$, we get $B^A_{R,S}=B^A_{R-,S-}$. $\endgroup$
    – YCor
    May 19, 2021 at 22:35

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