OML Search

Mutually Exclusive Events

Related Topics: More lessons on Probability


In these lessons, we will learn how to find the probability of mutually exclusive events. We will also compare mutually exclusive events and independent events.

Probability of Mutually Exclusive Events

Two events are said to be mutually exclusive if they cannot happen at the same time.
For example, if we toss a coin, either heads or tails might turn up, but not heads and tails at the same time. Similarly, in a single throw of a die, we can only have one number shown at the top face. The numbers on the face are mutually exclusive events.

If A and B are mutually exclusive events then the probability of A happening OR the probability of B happening is P(A) + P(B).

P(A or B) = P(A) + P(B)


What is the probability of a die showing a 2 or a 5?



The probabilities of three teams A, B and C winning a badminton competition are

Calculate the probability that
a) either A or B will win
b) either A or B or C will win
c) none of these teams will win
d) neither A nor B will win


c) P(none will win) = 1 – P(A or B or C will win)

d) P(neither A nor B will win) = 1 – P(either A or B will win)

Mutually Exclusive Events

Probabilities of Mutually Exclusive Events
If two events are 'mutually exclusive' they cannot occur at the same time.
Learn all about mutually exclusive events in this video.
For mutually exclusive events the total probabilities must add up to 1. Probability - P(A ∪ B) and Mutually Exclusive Events
P(A ∪ B) = P(A) + P(B) - P(A ∩ B)
For mutually exclusive events, P(A ∩ B) = 0.

Mutually Exclusive Events and Non-Mutually Exclusive Events

The following video shows how to calculate the probability of mutually exclusive events and non-mutually exclusive events.
1. Find the probability of drawing a yellow ball or drawing a three.
2. Find the probability of drawing a red ball or drawing an odd number ball. Mutually Exclusive Events - Introduction
1. What is the probability of drawing a heart and a black card?
2. What is the probability of drawing a heart or a black card?
3. What is the probability of drawing a heart and a face card?
3. What is the probability of drawing a heart or a face card?

Mutually Exclusive Events vs Independent Events

Mutually Exclusive, Independent Events
The figure shows how 25 people travelled to work: B for bicycle, T for Train and W for Walk.
a) Write down two of these events that are mutually exclusive. Give a reason for your answer.
b) Determine whether or not B and T are independent events. Independence and Mutually Exclusive
Mutually exclusive events cannot be independent events.
Independent events cannot be mutually exclusive events.

Rotate to landscape screen format on a mobile phone or small tablet to use the Mathway widget, a free math problem solver that answers your questions with step-by-step explanations.

You can use the free Mathway calculator and problem solver below to practice Algebra or other math topics. Try the given examples, or type in your own problem and check your answer with the step-by-step explanations.

OML Search

We welcome your feedback, comments and questions about this site or page. Please submit your feedback or enquiries via our Feedback page.

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines