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A relation is in 3NF if it is in 2NF and no non-prime attribute transitively depends on the primary key. In other words, a relation R is in 3NF if for each functional dependency X ⟶ A in R at least one of the following conditions are met:

1.X is a key or superkey in R
2.A is a prime attribute in R


A relation R is in BCNF if it is in 3NF and for each functional dependency X ⟶ A in R, X is a key or superkey in R. In other words, the only difference between 3NF and BCNF is that in BCNF it is not present the second condition of the 3NF. This makes BCNF stricter than 3NF as any relation that is in BCNF will be in 3NF but not necessarily every relation that is in 3NF will be in BCNF.

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