A matrix whose number of rows does not equal to the number of columns, is called a rectangular matrix.

Rectangular matrix is one type of matrix. In this matrix, the elements are arranged in rows and columns. The arrangement of elements in the matrix represents a rectangle shape. Hence, it is called a rectangular matrix.

For example, we have some elements, in which $n$ elements are arranged in each row. Thus, all elements are arranged in $m$ rows. Therefore, the elements are arranged in $m$ rows and $n$ columns.

Now, we have a matrix of the order $m \times n$ and it can be expressed in mathematical form as follows.

$M$ $\,=\,$

${\begin{bmatrix}

e_{11} & e_{12} & e_{13} & \cdots & e_{1n}\\

e_{21} & e_{22} & e_{23} & \cdots & e_{2n}\\

e_{31} & e_{32} & e_{33} & \cdots & e_{3n}\\

\vdots & \vdots & \vdots & \ddots & \vdots \\

e_{m1} & e_{m2} & e_{m3} & \cdots & e_{mn}

\end{bmatrix}}_{\displaystyle m \times n}

$

Geometrically, the rectangle shape in a matrix is possible if the number of rows is different to the number of columns. It means $m \ne n$.

Therefore, there are two possible cases in forming a rectangular matrix, one is the number of rows is greater than the number of columns ($m > n$) and the other is the number of rows is less than the number of columns ($m < n$).

Now, let’s learn the concept of rectangular arrangement of elements with some understandable examples.

$A$ is a matrix of the order $3 \times 4$.

$A$ $\,=\,$

$\begin{bmatrix}

5 & -1 & 4 & 9\\

-7 & 1 & 3 & 2\\

8 & 5 & 0 & -6

\end{bmatrix}

$

In the matrix $A$, the elements are arranged in $3$ rows and $4$ columns. In this matrix, the number of rows is not equal to the number of columns $(3 \ne 4)$ but the number of rows is less than the number of columns $(3 < 4)$. It is the main reason for the formation of rectangle shape in this matrix. Hence, the matrix $A$ is called a rectangular matrix.

$B$ is another matrix and the order of this matrix is $5 \times 2$.

$B$ $\,=\,$

$\begin{bmatrix}

2 & 6\\

5 & 2\\

9 & 4\\

6 & 2\\

7 & -6

\end{bmatrix}

$

In the matrix $B$, the elements are arranged in $5$ rows and $2$ columns. So, the number of rows is not equal to the number of columns $(5 \ne 2)$ in this matrix but the number of rows is greater than the number of columns $(5 > 2)$. It is the actual reason for the formation of rectangle shape in this matrix. Therefore, the matrix $B$ is also called a rectangular matrix.

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