# “belongs to” versus “contained in”

Let us consider a set $A$. let $B$ be an element of the set. Now what I want to know is that whether saying $B$ is contained in $A$ and $B$ belongs to $A$ means the same? Could anyone here cite any context where they do not mean the same?

#### Solutions Collecting From Web of "“belongs to” versus “contained in”"

Paul Halmos in his autobiography reports that he once decided that henceforward he would say “$x$ contains $y$” when he meant “$y$ is a member of $x$” and “$x$ includes $y$” when he meant “$y$ is a subset of $x$”. He adhered to that usage fastidiously for 18 months. At the end of that time he drew his conclusions: (1) the practice is harmless, and (2) he didn’t think anybody ever noticed.

I was inclined to agree with the usage on the grounds that people speak of a family of subsets being “partially ordered by inclusion” but they never say “partially ordered by containment” as far as I know.

And as far as I know, “$x$ belongs to $y$” would meant the same thing as “$x$ is a member of $y$”.

But sometimes people say “$x$ is contained in $y$” when they mean $x$ is a subset of $y$. And sometimes they say the same thing when they mean $x$ is a member of $y$. So always make it clear which meaning you have in mind. Sometimes context is enough for that and probably sometimes it is not.