# left aligning the conditional statement inside an array

I have equations of the form

a = b + d     for i <= 4, j < 3
= c         for i = 5
= d - e + u for i > 5


I am writing them using the following code in latex:

$$a = \left\{ \begin{array}{lr} b + d & \mbox{for } i \le 4, j < 3 \\ c & \mbox{for } i = 5 \\ d - e + u & \mbox{for } i > 5 \end{array} \right. \label{eqn:simple_one}$$


But the problem is that the conditional statements starting with "for" are always right aligned and the output looks like this (with a left brace after the "=" sign, which i cannot draw :) ).

a = b + d     for i <= 4, j < 3
c                 for i = 5
d - e + u         for i > 5


I wanted to make the condtional part left aligned such that the words "for" come exactly one below the other. How can this be done?

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They are right aligned because you have {array}{lr} change that to {array}{ll} to left align both columns. But generally it is best not to use array for laying out whole equations, it is designed for matrices/arrays. Here I think the amsmath package and its cases environment would be better.

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Thanks! I will also try out "cases" environment. – maths-help-seeker Jun 27 '12 at 21:23
@David Carlisle: Maybe its also good to note the other cases environment if needed such as: rcases (used for a right-aligned brace), dcases (used for display-math inside of the cases environment, and others that maybe available. – night owl Jun 27 '12 at 22:51

using amsmath and \cases allows this to be accomplished with simpler coding:

$$a = \begin{cases} b + d & \text{for i \le 4, j < 3} \\ c & \text{for i = 5} \\ d - e + u & \text{for i > 5} \end{cases} \label{eqn:simple_one}$$


with this result:

also note the use of \text instead of \mbox. \text will produce the correct size whether it's used at the base level or in sub- or superscripts or limits.

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+1 for the suggestion related to \text! – maths-help-seeker Jun 27 '12 at 21:28
I'd type \text{for $i \le 4$, $j < 3$}, but it's a matter of taste. – egreg Jun 27 '12 at 21:33
@egreg -- you're absolutely right. updated in example. – barbara beeton Jun 27 '12 at 21:42