A tourist in France wants to visit 10 different cities. If the route is randomly selected, what is the probability that she will visit the cities in alphabetical order?

1 Answer



We have 10 different cities that can be ordered in different ways. We are looking for the probability of selecting one order in particular - alphabetical. And so the probability will be:

#1/"number of permutations of 10 cities"#

So how many permutations are there of 10 cities?

Remember that the permutation calculation for a n, population and k, number selected from that population is:

#P_(n,k)=(n!)/((n-k)!)# and so we have

#P_(10,10)=(10!)/((10-10)!)=(10!)/(0!)=(10!)/1=10! =3,628,800#

which gives the probability of doing a random tour of 10 cities in alphabetical order as:


Let's put this a different way - the population of Connecticut in 2013 was just under #3, 600, 000# people. If you had every man, woman, and child do a tour of the same 10 French cities, with each one of them doing the cities in a different order, you still wouldn't be 100% sure that a single one of them managed to do the 10 cities in order.