Structure of Probability


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Structure of Probability

In the study of probability, developing a language of terms and symbols is helpful. The structure of probability provides a common framework within which the topics of probability can be explored.


As previously stated, an experiment is a process that produces outcomes. Examples of business oriented experiments with outcomes that can be statistically analyzed might include the following.

  • Interviewing 20 randomly selected consumers and asking them which brand of appliance they prefer.
  • Sampling every 200th bottle of ketchup from an assembly line and weighing the contents.
  • Testing new pharmaceutical drugs on samples of cancer patients and measuring the patient's improvement.
  • Auditing every 10th account to detect any errors.
  • Recording the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the first Monday of every month for 10 years.


Because an event is an outcome of an experiment, the experiment defines the possibilities of the event. If the experiment is to sample five bottles coming off the production line, an event could be to get one defective and four good bottles. In an experiment to roll a number greater than two. Events are denoted by uppercase letter; italic capital letter represents the general or abstract case, and Roman capital letters denote specific things and people.

Elementary Events

Events that cannot be decomposed or broken down into other events are called elementary events. Elementary events are denoted by lowercase letter.

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