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The standard way to produce a superscript check mark in latex would be something like

$\mathcal{E}^{\vee}$

(this is a notation often used for the dual of a locally free sheaf $\mathcal{E}$.) An alternative using the amsxtra package would be

$\mathcal{E}\spcheck$

but this looks exactly the same. If I correctly understand, it's really just a shortcut for the former code.

Personally, I find this version of a superscript check unaesthetic. In particular, I think it should be shallower. I could probably go searching in comprehensive symbol lists for something I like better, but I believe I'll end up with a better solution if I ask here.

What is a good way to produce a more aesthetic (and in particular, shallower) version of a superscript check mark in math mode?

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Note: While I find useful the answers describing how to rescale the \vee symbol, I was kind of hoping for suggestions for better symbols altogether. In addition to shallowness, I'd like a symbol with varying thickness, and perhaps even a tiny bit of curvature. –  Charles Staats Apr 20 '12 at 2:48
    
Thanks for providing these clarifications of your objective. Could you post a hand-drawn image of the "ideal" symbol shape you have in mind? "Varying [stroke] thickness" and a "tiny bit of curvature" might indicate that you're looking for a custom-made symbol. –  Mico Apr 20 '12 at 3:20
    
@Mico: If it takes a custom-made symbol, it's not worth the effort. But if I have the chance, I'll try to do as you ask. In the meantime, think loosely of a stylized "flying bird." –  Charles Staats Apr 20 '12 at 13:50
    
Another thought: perhaps what I really want is a way to write something that should really be \check{\mathcal{E}}, but with the check mark moved to the right on account of the size of the character. –  Charles Staats Apr 20 '12 at 14:04
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4 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

this is probably heresy, but you might consider using the \check accent over "nothing":

check accent as superscript

the vertical position can be adjusted by inserting a zero-width \vrule as the "nothing":

\[
   \mathcal{E}\,\check{} \quad
   \mathcal{E}\,\check{\vrule height1.3ex width0pt}
\]
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How about a macro \smvee (short for "small vee"), implemented in the following MWE:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\newcommand\smvee{\raise0.9ex\hbox{$\scriptscriptstyle\vee$}}
\begin{document}
$\mathcal{E}^{\vee}$, $\mathcal{E}\smvee$
\end{document}

enter image description here

Addendum: Relative to the "ordinary" \vee in a superscript position, the height of the \smvee symbol is about 30% smaller. The amount of the vertical displacement in the macro (0.9ex) was chosen so that the upper endpoints of the (small) vee line up with the upper endpoint of the \mathcal{E} character. You may wish to adjust this to suit your personal preferences.

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The amssymb package offers \checkmark that has "varying thickness" and "a tiny bit of curvature":

enter image description here

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amssymb,amsxtra}% http://ctan.org/pkg/{amssymb,amsxtra}
\usepackage{graphicx}% http://ctan.org/pkg/graphicx
\newcommand*{\dual}[1][E]{\mathcal{#1}^{\scalebox{.5}{\checkmark}}}%
\begin{document}
$\mathcal{E}^{\vee}$ \par
$\mathcal{E}\spcheck$ \par
$\dual$ \par
$\dual[G]$
\end{document}

From the above MWE, you only need graphicx and amssymb.

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Thanks for the suggestion, but I would also like to have a symmetric mark. –  Charles Staats Apr 20 '12 at 13:49
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Adjust \raisebox and \scalebox arguments as needed. The extra $ around the \vee look unnecessary, but they're actually required.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{graphicx}

\begin{document}
$\mathcal{E}^{\vee}$

$\mathcal{E}^{\raisebox{0.5ex}{\scalebox{0.5}[0.25]{$\vee$}}}$
\end{document}
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