# Expressing the size of a set in logical notation

I want to express the fact that a set has at most 2 elements, in logical notation. Is the following correct:

$$\exists x_1 \exists x_2 \exists x_3(x_1=x_2 \lor x_1=x_3 \lor x_2=x_3)$$

Or must I use universal quantifiers (which would seem to be correct, given that the above statement is the negation of at least 3 elements). Thank you.

• You can do it much simpler by saying $\exists x_1\exists x_2: x_1\neq x_2$. In your case $x_1=x_2=x_3$ - which would lead to only 1 element - is not excluded. May 10, 2021 at 14:35
• @LegNaiB Doesn't your expression say that there are at least 2 distinct elements? And I don't think OP's expression implies that $x_1 = x_2 = x_3$. For instance, we could have $x_1=x_2=0$ and $x_3 = 1$. May 10, 2021 at 15:12
• It doesn't imply that, but it is a possibility. But you are correct, I interchanged "at most" and "at least". However, the third element is not necessary. It would be enough to just say $\exists x_1\exists x_2$. Just the case of zero elements is not included then. May 10, 2021 at 15:22
• See the accepted answer in this question: math.stackexchange.com/questions/1936315/…? May 11, 2021 at 8:54

The following set satisfies your sentence: $$\{0, 1, 2\}$$ where we take $$x_1 = x_2 = x_3 = 0$$. In fact, any nonempty set would satisfy that sentence. You could modify your sentence to use universal rather than existential quantifiers.
$$\forall x_1 \forall x_2 \forall x_3(x_1=x_2 \lor x_1=x_3 \lor x_2=x_3)$$