# 3. Permutations (Ordered Arrangements)

### On this page...

Arranging *n* objects

Number of Permutations

Permutations of different kinds

Arranging in a circle

Exercises

An arrangement (or ordering) of a set of objects is called a **permutation**. (We can also arrange just part of the set of objects.)

In a permutation, the **order** that we arrange the objects in** is important**

### Example 1

Consider arranging 3 letters: A, B, C. How many ways can this be done?

## Reminder - Factorial Notation

Recall from the Factorial section that *n* factorial (written `n!`) is defined as:

n! =n× (n− 1) × (n− 2) ... 3 × 2 × 1

Each of the theorems in this section use factorial notation.

Continues below ⇩

## Theorem 1 - Arranging *n* Objects

In general, *n* distinct objects can be arranged in `n!` ways.

### Example 2

In how many ways can `4` different resistors be arranged in series?

## Theorem 2 - Number of Permutations

The number of permutations of *n* distinct objects taken *r* at a time, denoted by `P_r^n`, where **repetitions are not allowed**, is given by

`P_r^n` `=n(n-1)(n-2)...(n-r+1)` `=(n!)/((n-r)!`

### Notes

(1) `P_n^n=n!` (since `0! = 1`)

(2) Some books use the following notation for the number of permutations:

`nPr`

and others have:

`{::}^n P_r`

### Example 3

In how many ways can a supermarket manager display `5` brands of cereals in `3` spaces on a shelf?

### Example 4

How many different number-plates for cars can be made if each number-plate contains four of the digits `0` to `9` followed by a letter A to Z, assuming that

(a) no repetition of digits is allowed?

(b) repetition of digits is allowed?

## Theorem 3 - Permutations of Different Kinds of Objects

The number of different permutations of *n* objects of which *n*_{1} are of one kind, *n*_{2} are of a second kind, ... *n _{k}* are of a

*k*-th kind is

`(n!)/(n_1!xxn_2!xxn_3xx...xx n_k!`

### Example 5

In how many ways can the six letters of the word "mammal" be arranged in a row?

## Theorem 4 - Arranging Objects in a Circle

There are `(n - 1)!` ways to arrange *n* distinct objects in a circle (where the clockwise and anti-clockwise arrangements are regarded as distinct.)

### Example 6

In how many ways can `5` people be arranged in a circle?

## Exercises

### Exercise 1

In how many ways can `6` girls and `2` boys be arranged in a row

(a) without restriction?

(b) such that the `2` boys are together?

(c) such that the `2` boys are not together?

### Exercise 2

How many numbers greater than `1000` can be formed with the digits `3, 4, 6, 8, 9` if a digit cannot occur more than once in a number?

### Exercise 3

How many different ways can `3` red, `4` yellow and `2` blue bulbs be arranged in a string of Christmas tree lights with `9` sockets?

### Exercise 4

In how many ways can `5` people be arranged in a circle such that two people must sit together?

### Search IntMath, blog and Forum

### Online Algebra Solver

This algebra solver can solve a wide range of math problems.

Go to: Online algebra solver

### Math Lessons on DVD

Math videos by MathTutorDVD.com

Easy to understand math lessons on DVD. See samples before you commit.

More info: Math videos

### The IntMath Newsletter

Sign up for the free **IntMath Newsletter**. Get math study tips, information, news and updates each fortnight. Join thousands of satisfied students, teachers and parents!