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I have this relation:

F: AB->DE, AC->B, DE->C, AE->C, C->AB.

Is AC->B a partial dependency in F?

I'm guessing it is, because

C->AB can be decomposed to


from where we can conclude that there exists a subset of AC (C in our case) which goes into B, that is


I couldn't find a formal definition on the internet, so I would like it if someone could confirm my assumption.

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I found a definition at […: "A dependency in which one or more non-key attributes are functionally dependent .on part (but not all) of the primary key is known as partial functional dependency." – miracle173 Dec 5 '12 at 11:59
@miracle173: Oooh, that's a bad definition. This one is better, but still not perfect (describing 2NF): "a table is in 2NF if and only if it is in 1NF and no non prime attribute is dependent on any proper subset of any candidate key of the table." – Mike Sherrill 'Cat Recall' Dec 5 '12 at 17:56

In order for AC->B to be a partial key dependency, it has to satisfy these conditions.

  • AC must be a candidate key. (Not necessarily the primary key.)
  • One of these functional dependencies must hold.

    • A->B, or
    • C->B

So the first question I'd ask myself is, "Is AC a candidate key of F?"

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