The order of terms matters even when they commute

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Revision as of 08:42, 15 July 2021 by ColinBeveridge (talk | contribs) (Brackets not dollars.)

When writing a term that consists of several factors, the conventions regarding their order appear arbitrary. It is usual to write:

  • \(xy\) and \(yx\) in either order;
  • \(5t\) but not \(t5\) (to avoid confusion with \(t_5\) or \(t^5\));
  • \(x\sqrt{2}\) but not \(\sqrt{2}x\) (to avoid confusion with \(\sqrt{2x}\)).
  • \(\sqrt{2}\sin x\) but not \(\sin x \sqrt{2}\) (to avoid confusion with \(\sin \left(x\sqrt{2}\right)\)).