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Assume I wish to refer to the i-th object, or the n-th function out of some set, where i and n are letters and not numbers (as in "Multiply the $j$th row with the $i$th column and store the result in the $k$th memory cell, where $k=i+j$")

How do you suggest to write it?

$n$th is just confusing, $n$-th seems weird, and $n^{\text{th}}$, which is my current choice, is (pardon me) simply ugly.

Any suggestions?

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8  
My preferred form is "$n$-th". –  Will Robertson Feb 13 '11 at 8:23
    
[After playing with it a little today] One option that makes things bearable (at least in my eyes) is $n^{\text{\tiny th}}$. –  Ran G. Feb 14 '11 at 2:40
6  
I think we've had this before... –  Seamus Apr 4 '11 at 16:50
1  
Note that the meaning of the question is where "n" is a letter , rather than a number (e.g. the "i-th" element, the k-th index and the n-th dimension). The other question is specific to numbers (e.g., 1st, 2nd, etc.). –  Ran G. Jun 4 '12 at 3:10
4  
@RanG. I agree. My preferred forms would be "multiply row~$j$ with column~$i$" or "multiply the $j$-th row with the $k$-th column". The "th" at exponent is too ambiguous in a math context (and simply ugly in general). –  egreg Jun 5 '12 at 10:54
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2 Answers

In my experience $n$th is most widely used (like here). Personally I don't think it's ugly compared to the other two options and I think it's quite readable.

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especially with "i", it looks like a typo of "with" (: –  Ran G. Feb 13 '11 at 7:28
    
In spite of this being the most widely used option, I often find myself using $n$-th. I'm not sure why exactly, possibly it is because I use $n$-Bonacci, $\beta$-expansion etc. quite a lot. –  tohecz Jan 10 '13 at 10:20
    
\(n\)th may be more correct if you use LaTeX. –  N.N. Jan 10 '13 at 11:11
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$n$th is compatible with the command \nth{} which is called-upon by the package nth...

\documentclass{book}
\usepackage{nth}
\begin{document}
\nth{3} is not the same as $\nth{3}$
\end{document}

b.t.w. as far as I know this command only work with numbers...

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