Find an exponential generating function for ${a_r}$ , the number of $r$- letter words with no vowel used more than once (consonants can be repeated).

The answer is $(1 + x)^5e^{21x}$.

One solution I see is the following:

Since there can be one $(x^1 = x)$ OR no vowel $(x^0 = 1)$, the generating function for the vowels, by the additive principle, is $1 + x$. The exponential generating function for the consonants is $e^x =\sum_{n\ge 0}\frac{x^n}{n!}$. Since there are $21$ consonants, we have $e^{21x}$. By multiplying the two, we have: $(1 + x)^5e^{21x}$. My doubts are:

1) Why the generalized function for each of the consonants is $e^x$?

2) Why do we multiply it $21$ times?

3) Why, in the end, do we multiply both?


The number of $r$-letter words which have only constants is $21^r$. Hence the exponential g.f. is $$\sum_{r=0}^{\infty}\frac{21^r x^r}{r!}=e^{21x}.$$ Now consider the case of the $r$-letter words with a vowel "a". Their number is $r21^{r-1}$ (why?) and the exponential g.f. is $$\sum_{r=1}^{\infty}\frac{r21^{r-1} x^r}{r!}=x\sum_{r=1}^{\infty}\frac{21^{r-1} x^{r-1}}{(r-1)!}=xe^{21x}.$$ So the e.g.f. of the $r$-words with consonants and at most one "a" is $$\sum_{r=0}^{\infty}\frac{(21^r+r21^{r-1})x^r}{r!}=(1+x)e^{21x}.$$ Can you take it from here?

P.S. Recommended reading: Section 2.3 of Generatingfunctionology by Herbert Wilf.

  • $\begingroup$ @gmn_1450 Any feedback from your side? $\endgroup$
    – Robert Z
    Jun 26 '19 at 11:58

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