Skip to content

Mathematical language

Free Course Free Course

In our everyday lives we use we use language to develop ideas and to communicate them to other people. In this free course, Mathematical language, we examine ways in which language is adapted to express mathematical ideas.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • use set notation
  • determine whether two given sets are equal and whether one given set is a subset of another
  • find the union, intersection and difference of two given sets
  • determine the image of a given function
  • determine whether a given function is one-one and/or onto.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 20 hours
  • Updated Monday 22nd February 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Mathematics
Share on Google Plus Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit View article Comments

Study this free course

Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!

Mathematical language


Unit image

When we try to use ordinary language to explore mathematics, the words involved may not have a precise meaning, or may have more than one meaning. Many words have meanings that evolve as people adapt their understanding of them to accord with new experiences and new ideas. At any given time, one person's interpretation of language may differ from another person's interpretation, and this can lead to misunderstandings and confusion.

In mathematics we try to avoid these difficulties by expressing our thoughts in terms of well-defined mathematical objects. These objects can be anything from numbers and geometrical shapes to more complicated objects, usually constructed from numbers, points and functions. We discuss these objects using precise language which should be interpreted in the same way by everyone. In this course we introduce the basic mathematical language needed to express a range of mathematical concepts.

Please note that this course is presented through a series of downloadable PDF files.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open Unviersity course M208: Pure Mathematics [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Tags, Ratings and Social Bookmarking


No votes yet