Lusin's theorem

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This article is about the theorem of real analysis. For the separation theorem in descriptive set theory, see Lusin's separation theorem.

In the mathematical field of real analysis, Lusin's theorem (or Luzin's theorem, named for Nikolai Luzin) states that every measurable function is a continuous function on nearly all its domain. In the informal formulation of J. E. Littlewood, "every measurable function is nearly continuous".

Classical statement[edit]

For an interval [ab], let

f:[a,b]\rightarrow \mathbb{C}

be a measurable function. Then, for every ε > 0, there exists a compact E ⊂ [ab] such that f restricted to E is continuous and

\mu ( E ) > b - a - \varepsilon.\,

Note that E inherits the subspace topology from [ab]; continuity of f restricted to E is defined using this topology.

General form[edit]

Let (X,\Sigma,\mu) be a Radon measure space and Y be a second-countable topological space, let

f: X \rightarrow Y

be a measurable function. Given ε > 0, for every A\in\Sigma of finite measure there is a closed set E with µ(A \ E) < ε such that f restricted to E is continuous. If A is locally compact, we can choose E to be compact and even find a continuous function f_\varepsilon: X \rightarrow Y with compact support that coincides with f on E.

Informally, measurable functions into spaces with countable base can be approximated by continuous functions on arbitrarily large portion of their domain.

A proof of Lusin's theorem[edit]

Since f is measurable, there exists a sequence of step functions, fn converging to f pointwise almost everywhere. Each fn is bounded on a set of finite measure, hence integrable. By Egorov's theorem, may take a closed set E, such that the measure of A \ E is arbitrarily small, and such that fn converges to f uniformly. Thus f is in L1(A). Since continuous functions are dense in L1, we may approximate f with a continuous function defined on A.


  • N. Lusin. Sur les propriétés des fonctions mesurables, Comptes Rendus Acad. Sci. Paris 154 (1912), 1688–1690.
  • G. Folland. Real Analysis: Modern Techniques and Their Applications, 2nd ed. Chapter 2
  • W. Zygmunt. Scorza-Dragoni property (in Polish), UMCS, Lublin, 1990