Here are some ideas that should help:

- Use "
`^`

" to represent superscripts, as in "`x^2`

" for "*x*squared", and "`x^(1/2)`

" for "the square root of*x*". Use parentheses to avoid confusion about what belongs in the power. E.g., "`x^(2x)+1`

" rather than " " since this could be read incorrectly as either "`x^2x + 1`

" or "`(x^2)x + 1`

".`x^(2x+1)`

- Use "
`_`

" to represent subscripts, as in "`x_i`

" for "*x*sub*i*". Use parentheses as above to make more complicated subscripts clear. - Use spaces around low-precedence operators like addition,
subtraction and equals, but not around multiplication and division, as in
"
" rather than "`2x^2 + 3 = -1`

`2x^2+3=-1`

" - Use parentheses to make the numerator and denominator clear when you
write fractions using "
`/`

", as in "`(x+1)/(2x-3)`

", not "`x+1/2x-3`

" since this could be read as " " or any of a number of other ways.`x + (1/2)x - 3`

- For long equations, set them off from the rest of the mail by blank
lines and indentation. For example:
I can't figure out how to factor the equation x^3 - 2x^2 + 1 = 0 Can you give me any advice?

- Use spaces, not tabs, of you are forming a multi-line equation (like a
large fraction or a series of equalities). E.g.
1 f(x) = ------- 1 - x -1 so f'(x) = ------- (1-x)^2

- In general, use spaces and parentheses liberally to make your meaning as
clear as possible.
- For symbols that don't appear on the keyboard, like the subset
symbols, or the "is an element of" symbol, simply write out the words for
the symbol. E.g., "
`If x is an element of A then x is an element of B`

", or more simply "`If x is in A then x is in B`

". - Use "
`/=`

" or "`!=`

" for "not equal". Similarly, "`/<`

", "`/>`

", etc.

Comments to: dpvc@union.edu

Created: Mar 24 1998 --- Last modified: Mar 24, 1998 11:17:47 AM