[texhax] Some questions on math mode

Ivan Ramos Pagnossin ivan.pagnossin at gmail.com
Sun Mar 1 18:09:53 CET 2009

The difference among \text* and \math* is a question of *meaning*, not
layout. Let me copy a piece o text from The LaTeX Companion (sec 7.4 on p.

"...(in math formulas) individual shapes convey specific information. For
example, bold upright letters may represent vectors..."

So, you don't use \math* just because you are in math mode, but because you
need to set a specific meaning to a symbol, and this is (or might be) done
changing the font (the more appropriate one is up to you).

The question is more or less the same as asking "what is the difference
between \textit and \emph?" And the answer is that while \textit switch the
font to an italic shape, \emph *emphasizes* the text, what can be done with
bold faces, underlines, colors, italics (\textit, for instance) etc.

In time: the fonts associated to the comands \text* and \math* are
different, although in the Computer Modern families they are equal in series
and shapes. You can check this by loading a font package that does not have
support for math fonts (utopia, for example).


I mean, using the Computer Modern font families

On Sun, Mar 1, 2009 at 13:27, P. R. Stanley <prstanley at ntlworld.com> wrote:

> >P. R. Stanley wrote:
> >>Hi folks
> >>1. What effect does placing a letter [A-Za-z] in math mode produce,
> >>for example $x$ $A$?
> >
> >It sets the letter in maths italic, which is similar
> >to (but not the same as) text italics.
> >
> >>Sorry to be a pain, what is the difference between math italic and
> >>text italic? Where would one use math italic? For examplem is it
> >>for something as undane as a variable -- $ xy$?
> >----------[snip]----------
> >It's a great shame that (as far as I know) no-one has yet reported a
> >document from whence all of these things can be gleaned.
> well, with my questions and the answers from the list we may have
> already started creating such a document. :-)
> Cheers
> Paul
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