## Math Basics## All About Numbers |

## What is meant by one-to-one correspondence? |

A one-to-one correspondence means as the words imply: that the number of objects, numbers, or whatever is the same as the set of other objects, numbers, or whatever. (In set theory, the one-to-one correspondence means something different; for more about set theory, see “Foundations of Mathematics.”)

Everyone has no doubt had contact with one-to-one correspondence without even thinking about it. For example, there is a one-to-one correspondence of the number 10 to the number of fingers on both hands (ten). Counting a deck of cards is a one-to-one correspondence—each number, from 1 to 52, representing a card in the deck. When you compare two decks of cards, putting the cards side-by-side to equal 52 in each deck, this could also be considered a one-to-one correspondence.

Not everything is counted in such a way. For example, when mathematicians want to know the size of an unknown quantity, they put the unknown quantity in a one-to-one correspondence with a known quantity.