# Image of the set of natural numbers under any function is denumerable.

Hi everyone I'd like to know if the following reasoning is correct, any suggestion would be great. Thanks.

Proposition: Let $Y$ be a set and let $f: \mathbb{N}\rightarrow Y$ be a function. Then $f[\mathbb{N}]$ is at most countable.

Proof: If $Y$ is finite the result follows, this is because$f[\mathbb{N}]\subset Y$ and any subset of a finite set is finite and has at most the size of the set in which is contained.

We may assume that the set $Y$ is infinite. We set $A:= \{\,n\in\mathbb{N}:f(i)\not=f(n) \,\,\text{ for any }i< n\, \}$. And we define the function $g:A \rightarrow f[\mathbb{N}]$ as the restriction of $f$ in $A$. We claim that the function $g$ is a bijective map. From the definition of $A$ we already know that the map is $1:1$. We will show that also is onto.

Let $y\in f[\mathbb{N}]$. Suppose for the sake of contradiction that there is no $n\in A$ such that $g(n)=y$. Since $y$ lies in the image of $f$, then there is some $j\in \mathbb{N}$ for which $y=f(j)$. Then either $f(j)\not= f(i)$ for any $i<j$ or there exists some $i<j$ such that $f(j)= f(i)$. For the former, $j$ lies in $A$ (by its definition). For the latter, the set $\{\, n\in \mathbb{N}: f(j)=f(n)\, \text{and }\,n\not=j \}$ is non empty, and hence has a minimum element. Let $m$ be its minimum element. Then $f(m)\not=f(n)$ for any $n<m$ and thus $\,m\in A$ but $g(m)=f(m)= f(j)=y$. Thus any case leads to a contradiction. The result follows by reductio ad absurdum. Hence $f$ is surjective and injective, i.e., a bijective map.

Since there is a bijection between $A$ and the images of the natural numbers under $f$, both have the same cardinality. Also we already know that $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ and any set of the natural numbers is denumerable, thus $f[\mathbb{N}]$ is countable. $\Box$

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Looks good, can simplify with en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…;. – vadim123 Dec 18 '13 at 4:06
Thanks in other source I saw the Cantor-Bernstein theorem. :) – Jose Antonio Dec 18 '13 at 4:21