Functions and its types

Function assigns to each element of a set, exactly one element of a related set. Functions find their application in various fields like representation of the computational complexity of algorithms, counting objects, study of sequences and strings, to name a few. The third and final chapter of this part highlights the important aspects of functions.

Function – Definition

A function or mapping (Defined as f:XYf:X→Y) is a relationship from elements of one set X to elements of another set Y (X and Y are non-empty sets). X is called Domain and Y is called Codomain of function ‘f’.

Function ‘f’ is a relation on X and Y such that for each xXx∈X, there exists a unique yYy∈Y such that (x,y)R(x,y)∈R. ‘x’ is called pre-image and ‘y’ is called image of function f.

A function can be one to one or many to one but not one to many.

Injective / One-to-one function

A function f:ABf:A→B is injective or one-to-one function if for every bBb∈B, there exists at most one aAa∈A such that f(s)=tf(s)=t.

This means a function f is injective if a1a2a1≠a2 implies f(a1)f(a2)f(a1)≠f(a2).


  • f:NN,f(x)=5xf:N→N,f(x)=5x is injective.
  • f:NN,f(x)=x2f:N→N,f(x)=x2 is injective.
  • f:RR,f(x)=x2f:R→R,f(x)=x2 is not injective as (x)2=x2(−x)2=x2

Surjective / Onto function

A function f:ABf:A→B is surjective (onto) if the image of f equals its range. Equivalently, for every bBb∈B, there exists some aAa∈A such that f(a)=bf(a)=b. This means that for any y in B, there exists some x in A such that y=f(x)y=f(x).


  • f:NN,f(x)=x+2f:N→N,f(x)=x+2 is surjective.
  • f:RR,f(x)=x2f:R→R,f(x)=x2 is not surjective since we cannot find a real number whose square is negative.

Bijective / One-to-one Correspondent

A function f:ABf:A→B is bijective or one-to-one correspondent if and only if fis both injective and surjective.


Prove that a function f:RRf:R→R defined by f(x)=2x3f(x)=2x–3 is a bijective function.

Explanation − We have to prove this function is both injective and surjective.

If f(x1)=f(x2)f(x1)=f(x2), then 2x13=2x232×1–3=2×2–3 and it implies that x1=x2x1=x2.

Hence, f is injective.

Here, 2x3=y2x–3=y

So, x=(y+5)/3x=(y+5)/3 which belongs to R and f(x)=yf(x)=y.

Hence, f is surjective.

Since f is both surjective and injective, we can say f is bijective.

Inverse of a Function

The inverse of a one-to-one corresponding function f:ABf:A→B, is the function g:BAg:B→A, holding the following property −


The function f is called invertible, if its inverse function g exists.


  • A Function f:ZZ,f(x)=x+5f:Z→Z,f(x)=x+5, is invertible since it has the inverse function g:ZZ,g(x)=x5g:Z→Z,g(x)=x−5.
  • A Function f:ZZ,f(x)=x2f:Z→Z,f(x)=x2 is not invertible since this is not one-to-one as (x)2=x2(−x)2=x2.

Author: Deepak Chahar

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