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When I combine adaptive parentheses (\left(, \right)) with \underbrace, the parentheses adapt to span the underbrace. Example:

\left(\underbrace{e_{s,i,j}}_{\mathclap{=:x>0}} + \underbrace{e_{t,i,j}}_{\mathclap{=:y>0}}\right)

Is it possible to restrict the parentheses' height to the formula with*out* the underbraces? Moving the underbrace outside the parentheses is not an option because I may need to underbrace several and partial elements inside. Thanks!

EDIT: I helped myself now by using \bigg( instead of \left(, i.e. manually setting the size of the paranthesis. Solves my current problem but doesn't really answer the general question, does it?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

I would suggest using a combination of \vphantom{<stuff>} (for correct vertical spacing) and breaking up the expression into three separate components to correct for the extensible brackets. For example, the following shows the difference between your attempt and using the above combination:

% These definitions are taken from Herbert Voss' Mathmode document,
% available online via CTAN from: http://www.ctan.org/pkg/voss-mathmode
\llap{$\mathsurround=0pt#1{#2}$}% $
\def\clap#1{\hbox to 0pt{\hss#1\hss}}
\rlap{$\mathsurround=0pt#1{#2}$}% $
Here is some text.
Here is some more text.
  \left(\vphantom{e_{s,i,j}e_{t,i,j}}\right.% Left bracket
  \left.\vphantom{e_{s,i,j}e_{t,i,j}}\right)% Right bracket
Here is some more text.

This is what it looks like:

Mathmode spacing

You may have to fiddle around with the spacing of the brackets to suit your preference, using math spacing or \mathllap and \mathrlap.

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Exactly what I was looking for, thanks! – Nicolas78 Jul 17 '11 at 21:44


\[ \big(\underbrace{e_{s,i,j}}_{\mathclap{=:x>0}} +   
        \underbrace{e_{t,i,j}}_{\mathclap{=:y>0}}\big) \]


enter image description here

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Thanks. That's what I ended up doing as a first fix, but it doesn't scale (I have several of such spots and I don't want to pick the right size of brackets each time) – Nicolas78 Jul 17 '11 at 21:43

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