Skip To Content

    1 Chart That Explains Why People Are Wrong About Venn Diagrams

    Pedantry level: infinite.

    Most things people call Venn diagrams are not Venn diagrams.

    Tom Phillips/BuzzFeed

    Lots of them are actually Euler diagrams. A Venn diagram has to show all possible logical relationships between sets, even if they're not things that exist; an Euler diagram doesn't.

    If you want some added explanation, here are more charts than promised in the headline.

    Tom Phillips/BuzzFeed

    Venn diagrams are (roughly) a very specific type of Euler diagram. For example, a Venn diagram has to show the overlap between two sets, even if there's nothing in that overlap (shown by shading it in black, as above).

    While a Euler diagram can just show that they don't overlap:

    Tom Phillips/BuzzFeed

    Venn diagrams also have to show every part of every set overlapping with every other at some point, which makes them really messy compared to Euler diagrams.

    Tom Phillips/BuzzFeed/

    And of course some things described as "Venn diagrams" aren't even Euler diagrams. They're just... circles.

    Tom Phillips/BuzzFeed
    Tom Phillips/BuzzFeed

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form