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B Mapping plane/set into/onto itself (What exactly does this mean?)

  1. Apr 12, 2017 #1
    I've seen in books things like "G is mapping of plane into itself", "map of a set into itself" or "map of set/plane onto itself".
    What exactly to map into/onto itself means? Do this means that when G maps into itself we get G as a result or we can also associate points on G to other points as long as they are on G?
    If we have set S={1,2,3} what will mean to map it into itself?
    The flowing thing?
    1->1 S→S
    2->2 S2→S2
    3->3 S3→S3

    Will "f:S→S where the image is S itself (i.e f(S)=S)" will be the correct notation(is there difference between the two, if they are correct at all?)

    Some simple examples will be helpful.

    Most of things I wrote probably make no sense, but I'm totally confused and google don't want to assist when I search about "mapping" and "maps". Giving me the right thing to search for or where to read about these things will be highly appreciated.
    I also suppose that onto and into have different meaning, but I don't know what.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who reply!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2017 #2


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    For a set S, and a function ('map') f whose domain is S, we say f 'maps S into itself' if f(x) is in S for every x in S.
    We say f 'maps S onto itself' if the above applies and the additional condition applies that for every y in S there is some x in S such that y=f(x). This can also be written as f(S)=S.

    There are maps from a set onto itself that do not map each element to itself. For instance, with your three-element set, the map f such that
    maps S onto itself.

    Maps of a set onto itself are sometimes called 'permutations'.
  4. Apr 13, 2017 #3
    Thank you for the answer! I think that I understand it now. IDK why in all the books where I checked it wasn't explained that simple (it wasnt explained at all)...
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