Permutation And Combination

Permutation and combination are all about counting and arrangements made from a certain group of data. The meaning of both these terms is explained here in this article, along with formulas and examples. This is one of the most important topics in the list of mathematics. In this section, will discuss all the related concepts with a diverse set of solved questions along with formulas. Moreover, practice questions based on this concept will improve your skills and help you solve any question at your own pace.

What is Permutation?

In mathematics, permutation relates to the act of arranging all the members of a set into some sequence or order, or if the set is already ordered, rearranging its elements, a process called permuting. Permutations occur, in more or less prominent ways, in almost every area of mathematics. They often arise when different orderings on certain finite sets are considered.

What is Combination?

The combination is a way of selecting items from a collection, such that (unlike permutations) the order of selection does not matter. In smaller cases, it is possible to count the number of combinations. Combination refers to the combination of n things taken k at a time without repetition. To refer to combinations in which repetition is allowed, the terms k-selection or k-combination with repetition are often used. Permutation and Combination Class 11 is one of the important topics which helps in scoring well in Board Exams.

Permutation and Combination Formulas

There are many formulas involved in permutation and combination concept. The two key formulas are:

Permutation Formula

A permutation is the choice of r things from a set of n things without replacement and where the order matters.

nPr = (n!) / (n-r)!

Combination Formula

A combination is the choice of r things from a set of n things without replacement and where order does not matter.

Combination Formula

Difference Between Permutation and Combination

Permutation Combination
Arranging people, digits, numbers, alphabets, letters, and colours Selection of menu, food, clothes, subjects, team.
Picking a team captain, pitcher, and shortstop from a group. Picking three team members from a group.
Picking two favourite colours, in order, from a colour brochure. Picking two colours from a colour brochure.
Picking first, second and third place winners. Picking three winners.

Permutation and Combination Examples

Example 1: Find the number of permutations and combinations if n = 12 and r = 2?

Solution: Given,

n = 12
r = 2

Using the formula given above:


nPr = (n!) / (n-r)! =(12!) / (12-2)! = 12! / 10! = (12 x 11 x 10! )/ 10! = 132


\(_{n}C_{r} = \frac{n1}{r!(n-r)!}\) \(\frac{12!}{2!(12-2)!} = \frac{12!}{2!(10)!} = \frac{12\times 11\times 10}{2!(10)!} = 66\)

Example 2: In a dictionary, If all permutations of the letters of the word AGAIN are arranged in an order. What is the 49th word?


Start with the letter A The arranging the other 4 letters: G, A, I, N = 4! = 24 First 24 words
Start with the letter G arrange A, A, I and N in different ways: 4!/2! 1! 1! = 12 Next 12 words
Start with the letter I arrange A, A, G and N in different ways: 4!/2! 1! 1! = 12 Next 12 words

This accounts up to the 48th word. The 49th word is “NAAGI”.

Example 3: In how many ways a committee consisting of 5 men and 3 women, can be chosen from 9 men and 12 women.


Choose 5 men out of 9 men = 9C5 ways = 126 ways

Choose 3 women out of 12 women = 12C3 ways = 220 ways

The committee can be chosen in 27720 ways

Permutation and Combination Questions

Question 1: In how many ways can the letters be arranged so that all the vowels come together: Word is “IMPOSSIBLE”

Question 2: In how many ways of 4 girls and 7 boys, can be chosen out of 10 girls and 12 boys to make a team.

Question 3: How many words can be formed by 3 vowels and 6 consonants taken from 5 vowels and 10 consonants.

From the above discussion, students would have gained certain important aspects related to this topic. To gain further understanding of the topic, it would be advisable that students should work on sample questions with solved examples. To learn more about different maths concepts, register with BYJU’S today.

Frequently Asked Questions on Permutation and Combination

What do you mean by permutations and combinations?

A permutation is an act of arranging the objects or numbers in order.
Combinations are the way of selecting the objects or numbers from a group of objects or collection, in such a way that the order of the objects does not matter.

Give examples of permutations and combinations

The example of permutations is the number of 2 letter words which can be formed by using the letters in a word say, GREAT; 5P_2 = 5!/(5-2)!
The example of combinations is in how many combinations we can write the words using the vowels of word GREAT; 5C_2 =5!/[2! (5-2)!]

What is the formula for permutations and combinations?

The formula for permutations is: nPr = n!/(n-r)!
The formula for combinations is: nCr = n!/[r! (n-r)!]

What are the real-life examples of permutations and combinations?

Arranging people, digits, numbers, alphabets, letters, and colours are examples of permutations.
Selection of menu, food, clothes, subjects, the team are examples of combinations.

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