# 1.4: Mutually Exclusive Events

**Basic**Created by: CK-12

**Practice**Mutually Exclusive Events

Suppose you select a blueberry muffin for breakfast at your local bakery. Ten minutes later, after you've gobbled down the muffin, you're still hungry so next you select something a little healthier than the muffin, maybe a whole grain bagel to take for the road. Do you think these events are mutually exclusive or mutually inclusive?

### Watch This

First watch this video to learn about mutually exclusive events.

CK-12 Foundation: Chapter1MutuallyExclusiveEventsA

Then watch this video to see some examples.

CK-12 Foundation: Chapter1MutuallyExclusiveEventsB

### Guidance

Two events \begin{align*}A\end{align*}**mutually exclusive events**. When we add probability calculations of events described by this term, we can apply the word *or* \begin{align*}(\cup)\end{align*}

What if we said that we were choosing a card from a deck of cards? Suppose event \begin{align*}A\end{align*}

Notice that the sets containing the possible outcomes of the events have no elements in common. Therefore, the events are mutually exclusive.

#### Example A

What is the probability of randomly picking a number from 1 to 10 that is even or randomly picking a number from 1 to 10 that is odd?

To calculate the probability of picking a number from 1 to 10 that is even or picking a number from 1 to 10 that is odd, you would follow the steps below:

\begin{align*}A = \left \{2, 4, 6, 8, 10 \right \}\\
\\
P(A) = \frac{5}{10}\\
\\
B = \left \{1, 3, 5, 7, 9 \right \}\\
\\
P(B) = \frac{5}{10}\\
\\
P(A \ \text{or} \ B) = \frac{5}{10} + \frac{5}{10}\\
\\
P(A \ \text{or} \ B) = \frac{10}{10}\\
\\
P(A \ \text{or} \ B) = 1\end{align*}

The probability of picking a number from 1 to 10 that is even and picking a number from 1 to 10 that is odd would just be 0, since these are mutually exclusive events. In other words, \begin{align*}P(A \ \text{and} \ B) = 0\end{align*}

#### Example B

2 fair dice are rolled. What is the probability of getting a sum less than 7 or a sum equal to 10?

\begin{align*}P(A) = \text{probability of obtaining a sum less than 7}\\
\\
P(A)=\frac{15}{36}\end{align*}

\begin{align*}P(B) = \text{probability of obtaining a sum equal to 10}\\
\\
P(B) = \frac{3}{36}\end{align*}

There are no elements that are common, so the events are mutually exclusive.

\begin{align*}P(A \ \text{or} \ B) &= P(A) + P(B)\\
P(A \cup B) &= P(A) + P(B)\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{15}{36} + \frac{3}{36}\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{18}{36}\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{1}{2}\\
P(A \ \text{and} \ B) &= 0\end{align*}

#### Example C

A card is chosen at random from a standard deck of cards. What is the probability that the card chosen is a diamond or club? Are these events mutually exclusive?

A standard deck of cards contains 52 cards, with 13 hearts, 13 diamonds, 13 spades, and 13 clubs. Since a card cannot be a diamond and a club at the same time, choosing a diamond and choosing a club are mutually exclusive events. Suppose that event \begin{align*}A\end{align*}

\begin{align*}P(A)=\frac{13}{52}\\
P(B)=\frac{13}{52}\end{align*}

\begin{align*}P(A \ \text{or} \ B) &= P(A) + P(B)\\
P(A \cup B) &= P(A) + P(B)\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{13}{52} + \frac{13}{52}\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{26}{52}\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{1}{2}\\
P(A \ \text{and} \ B) &= 0\end{align*}

**Points to Consider**

- Can mutually exclusive events be independent? Can they be dependent?

### Guided Practice

3 coins are tossed simultaneously. What is the probability of getting 1 or 2 heads? Are these events mutually exclusive?

**Solution:**

When tossing 3 coins simultaneously, there are \begin{align*}2^3=8\end{align*}

\begin{align*}HHH\\
HTH\\
HHT\\
HTT\\
THH\\
THT\\
TTH\\
TTT\end{align*}

It's apparent from the list of possible outcomes that there are 3 ways to get 1 head and 3 ways to get 2 heads. Since getting 1 head and getting 2 heads cannot occur at the same time, these events are mutually exclusive. Suppose that event \begin{align*}A\end{align*}

\begin{align*}P(A)=\frac{3}{8}\\
P(B)=\frac{3}{8}\end{align*}

\begin{align*}P(A \ \text{or} \ B) &= P(A) + P(B)\\
P(A \cup B) &= P(A) + P(B)\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{3}{8} + \frac{3}{8}\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{6}{8}\\
P(A \cup B) &= \frac{3}{4}\\
P(A \ \text{and} \ B) &= 0\end{align*}

### Interactive Practice

### Practice

- 2 dice are tossed. What is the probability of obtaining a sum equal to 6?
- 2 dice are tossed. What is the probability of obtaining a sum less than 6?
- 2 dice are tossed. What is the probability of obtaining a sum greater than 6?
- 2 dice are tossed. What is the probability of obtaining a sum of at least 6?
- Thomas bought a bag of jelly beans that contained 10 red jelly beans, 15 blue jelly beans, and 12 green jelly beans. What is the probability of Thomas reaching into the bag and pulling out a blue or green jelly bean?
- A card is chosen at random from a standard deck of cards. What is the probability that the card chosen is a heart or spade? Are these events mutually exclusive?
- 3 coins are tossed simultaneously. What is the probability of getting 3 heads or 3 tails? Are these events mutually exclusive?
- In question 7, what is the probability of getting 3 heads
*and*3 tails when tossing the 3 coins simultaneously? - Are randomly choosing a person who is left-handed and randomly choosing a person who is right-handed mutually exclusive events? Explain your answer.
- Suppose 2 events are mutually exclusive events. If one of the events is randomly choosing a boy from the freshman class of a high school, what could the other event be? Explain your answer.

### Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color | Highlighted Text | Notes | |
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Show More |

Term | Definition |
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Event |
An event is a set of one or more possible results of a probability experiment. |

Independent Events |
Two events are independent if the occurrence of one event does not impact the probability of the other event. |

Intersection |
Intersection is the probability of both or all of the events you are calculating happening at the same time (less likely). |

Mutually Exclusive Events |
Mutually exclusive events have no common outcomes. |

Outcome |
An outcome of a probability experiment is one possible end result. |

Permutation |
A permutation is an arrangement of objects where order is important. |

statistical probability |
A statistical probability is the calculated probability that a given outcome will occur if the same experiment were completed an infinite number of times. |

union |
is a symbol that stands for union and is used to connect two groups together. It is associated with the logical term OR. |

### Image Attributions

Here you'll learn to represent mutually exclusive events with Venn diagrams and calculate probabilities of mutually exclusive events.