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PROBABILITY OF UNION AND INTERSECTION OF TWO EVENTS

The union of two events is a new event that contains all of the outcomes that are in at least one
of the two events. The probability of the union of events A and B, denoted by P(A ∪ B).

A A A

B B B

P(A ∪ B) = P(A) + P(B) – P(A ∩ B) P(A U B) = P(A) + P(B) P(A U B) = P(B)


The intersection of two events is a new event that contains all of the outcomes that are in both
events. The probability of the intersection of events A and B is denoted by 𝑃(𝐴 ∩ 𝐵).

A A A
B B B

P(A ∩ B) P(A ∩ B) = 0 P(A ∩ B) = P(A)

Illustrative Example 1
Max rolled a fair die and wished to find the probability of “the number that turns up is even or
number greater than 3”
A B
4
2 5
6
1 3
From the sample space, Let A be the event “even number turns up” and B is the event “number
greater than 3.” Solution: Sample Space: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} From the given statement A = {2, 4, 6}
and B = {4, 5, 6} then the number that turns up is even and number greater than 3 (𝐴∩𝐵) = {4,
6}. So, the probability of “the number that turns up is even or number greater than 3” 𝑃(𝐴∪𝐵) =
3 3 2 4 2
𝑃(𝐴)+ 𝑃(𝐵)−𝑃(𝐴∩𝐵) 𝑃(𝐴∪𝐵) = + − = or
6 6 6 6 3
Illustrative Example 2
Max rolled a fair die and wished to find the probability of “the number that turns up is odd or
even”
A B
1 2
3 4
5 6
From the sample space, Let A be the event “odd number turns up” and B is the event “even
number turns up” Solution: Sample Space: {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6} From the given statement A = {1, 3,
5} and B = {2, 4, 6} then the number that turns up is odd and even (𝐴 ∩ 𝐵) = { } . So, the
probability of “the number that turns up is odd or even” 𝑃(𝐴∪ 𝐵) = 𝑃(𝐴)+𝑃(𝐵)−𝑃(𝐴∩𝐵) 𝑃(𝐴∪ 𝐵) =
3 3 0 6 3 3 6
+ − = or 1 or 𝑃(𝐴∪ 𝐵) = 𝑃(𝐴)+𝑃(𝐵) 𝑃(𝐴∪ 𝐵) = + = or 1
6 6 6 6 6 6 6

Probabilities of Mutually Exclusive Events


Illustrative Example 1: From a deck of 52 cards, what is the probability that the card is a number
from 2 to 5 or a face card? The event of a number from 2 to 5 is drawn and the event of a face
card is drawn have no elements in common, hence these are mutually exclusive events. Let A
be the event that a number from 2 to 5 is drawn. Let F be the event that a face card is drawn.

A B

Mutually Exclusive – two events A and B cannot occur on the same time.

4 3 7
𝑃(𝐴 ∪ F) = 𝑃(𝐴) + 𝑃(F) = + =
13 13 13
Illustrative Example 2: From a deck of 52 cards, what is the probability that the card is a face
card or a black card? The event of a face card is drawn and a black card is drawn have some
elements in common, i.e. a black face card. Therefore, these are non-mutually exclusive events.
Let F be the event that a face card is drawn. Let B be the event that a black card is drawn.

A B

Not Mutually exclusive – two events can occur on the same time.

7 1 3 8
𝑃(F ∪ 𝐵) = 𝑃(F) + 𝑃(𝐵) − 𝑃(F ∩ 𝐵) = + − =
13 2 26 13