Referring to this lecture , I want to know what is the difference between supremum and maximum. It looks same as far as the lecture is concerned when it explains pointwise supremum and pointwise maximum

**Answer**

A maximum of a set must be an element of the set. A supremum need not be.

Explicitly, if X is a (partially) ordered set, and S is a subset, then an element s0 is the **supremum** of S if and only if:

- s≤s0 for all s∈S; and
- If t∈X is such that s≤t for all s∈S, then s0≤t.

By contrast, an element m is the **maximum** of S if and only if:

- s≤m for all s∈S; and
- m∈S.

Note that if S has a maximum, then the maximum must be the supremum: indeed, if t∈X is such that s≤t for all s∈S, then in particular m∈S, so m≤t, proving that m satisfies the conditions to be the supremum.

But it is possible for a set to have a supremum but not a maximum. For instance, in the real numbers, the set of all negative numbers does *not* have a maximum: there is no *negative* number m with the property that n≤m for all negative numbers n. However, the set of all negative numbers **does** have a supremum: 0 is the supremum of the set of negative numbers. Indeed, a≤0 for all negative numbers a; and if a≤b for all negative numbers a, then 0≤b.

The full relationship between supremum and maximum is:

- If S has a maximum m, then S also has a supremum and in fact m is also a supremum of S.
- Conversely, if S has a supremum s, then S has a maximum if and only if s∈S, in which case the maximum is also s.

In particular, if a set has both a supremum and a maximum, then they are the same element. The set may also have neither a supremum nor a maximum (e.g., the rationals as a subset of the reals). But if it has only one them, then it has a supremum which is not a maximum and is not in the set.

**Attribution***Source : Link , Question Author : user31820 , Answer Author : Arturo Magidin*