Talk:Typographical conventions in mathematical formulae

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As found in Roman letters used in mathematics votes for deleation article, this article was the brainchild of mikka, and the two links on the article is my idea. I think both are good ideas and both this article and my two articles should be merged!

American and European differences[edit]

I've added some rudimentary information on American mathematical typography. I wish I could locate Knuth's lecture notes on "Mathematical typography"; I found a PDF of them online one time, but don't remember where.

Please add more information about mathematical typography, and in particular about the parts that are different between American and European style. For example, I'm given to understand that many European journals use upright Latin letters and/or italic Greek letters?

I don't know if this article should turn into "dos and don'ts of math writing," but if it does, I've got plenty. :) --Quuxplusone 22:56, 3 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm European, but I've no idea how European conventions should differ from what's presented as American in the article. (I must confess I've never publshed anything in a European journal, however.) Is there really any difference here? (Well, I say and you say ; I say 0,5 and you say 0.5 - so let's call the whole thing off... But other than taht?)--Niels Ø (noe) (talk) 21:58, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

mathematization joke[edit]

I noticed the red link "mathematization" joke. Did this exist before? I think somewhere a bit more should be said about that. E.g. the standard use (almost "meaning") of \epsilon, and also e.g. "x,y" for real variables against "k,m,n,..." for integer variables. (Just ran across the latter). Information on this is quite dispersed; this page and other existing pages (Roman letters used in mathematics) are not featured richly enough on this, imho. — MFH:Talk 17:30, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Typographical conventions or notational conventions[edit]

Although the topics may have some overlap, I think it is worthwhile to distinguish between typographical conventions (how formulae are actually typeset: how the font size of a superscript relates to the main text; when three dots are raised or on the baseline; where thin spaces are inserted; ...) and general conventions in mathematical notation (such as the use of single-letter names for variables, but multi-letter names for specific functions and operators; various uses of super- and subscripts; parentheses; function application; infix|postfix|ambifix operators; ellipses; abuse of notation; ...). In my opinion the latter topic — conventions in mathematical notation — warrants a separate article. LambiamTalk 03:13, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Point well taken, Lambiam!—PaulTanenbaum (talk) 03:03, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Mathematical Joke[edit]

I can't find this joke anywhere? What is it? The Roc 1217 06:32, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, please tell us the joke. It's not fair to tease like that. (talk) 12:27, 18 March 2008 (UTC)


I've added a Globalize tag since this article explicitly states repeated that the conventions apply only to America. However I'm not actually convinced that they do (!) and if anyone can give an authoritative answer saying that they are not then we can probably remove the tag. --Neil (talk) 09:59, 1 June 2009 (UTC)

I think the point is that the text is pointedly written as applying to the USA, and there are no citations or examples to suggest otherwise.
I've added some international citations (well, actually NIST isn't strictly international, but it conforms to the other two citations), and a new section. I trust other editors will respect this contribution that is backed by very reputable references, even if the editor themself doesn't use the conventions described.
I've tried to summarise key points in layman's terms.
As alluded to in another post, I too have not attempted to cover issues such as "How close should an integral sign be written to a fraction bar?" or "When should we use '÷', and when '/'?"
—DIV ( (talk) 04:02, 23 January 2017 (UTC))
By the way, I forgot to add that although international conventions are becoming established, historically I imagine there may have been very large differences between typographical conventions in mathematical formulæ around the world, in places as diverse as the Middle East, India, Japan, South America, etc.
—DIV ( (talk) 04:07, 23 January 2017 (UTC))