An equivalence relation on a set is a subset of , i.e., a collection of ordered pairs of elements of , satisfying certain properties. Write "" to mean is an element of , and we say " is related to ," then the properties are
1. Reflexive: for all ,
2. Symmetric: implies for all
3. Transitive: and imply for all ,
where these three properties are completely independent. Other notations are often used to indicate a relation, e.g., or .