# [texhax] Description: difference between \{\} and \lbrace \rbrace

Barbara Beeton bnb at ams.org
Sat Nov 14 17:39:18 CET 2009

hi, paul,

Is there a visual difference between \{\} and \lbrace \rbrace?

they are equated in plain.tex, so they are meant
to be identical.

Personally I find the second of the two more descriptive and it helps to
distinguish between braces for scoping and braces in the final output.

\documentclass [a4paper, 12pt] {article}

\usepackage {amssymb}

\begin {document}

$\lbrace 1, 2, 3 \rbrace$ \\
$\{ 1, 2, 3 \}$

\end {document}

since you aren't able to see the output, yes,
the \lbrace \rbrace would be more meaningful.

the l and r indicate the shape only; if sized
braces are needed, you still have to apply
\left and \right.
-- bb