Entity Types

Entity Types

Entity Types

The Entiy Relationship (ER) model consists of different types of entities. The existence of an entity may depends on the existence of one or more other entities, such an entity is said to be existence dependent.Entities whose existence not depending on any other entities is termed as not existence dependent.

 Entities based on their characteristics are classified as follows. 

  • Strong Entities
  • Weak Entities
  • Recursive Entities
  • Composite Entities


Strong Entity Vs Weak Entity
An entity set that has a primary key is termed as strong entity set. An entity set that does not have sufficient attributes to form a primary key is termed as a weak entity set.

A weak entity is existence dependent. That is the existence of a weak entity depends on the existence of  an identifying entity set.

The discriminator (or partial key) is used to identify other attributes of a weak entity set.

The primary key of a weak entity set is formed by primary key of identifying entity set and the discriminator of weak entity set.

The existence of a weak entity is indicated by a double rectangle in the ER diagram.

We underline the discriminator of a weak entity set with a dashed line in the ER diagram.

Recursive Entity
A recursive entity is one in which a relation can exist between occurrences of the same entity set. This occurs in a unary relationship.

Composite Entities

If a Many to Many relationship exist we must create a bridge entity to convert it into 1 to Many. Bridge entity composed of the primary keys of each of the entities to be connected. The bridge entity is known as a composite entity. A composite entity is represented by a diamond shape with in a rectangle in an ER Diagram.