What's the reason for the double superscript error?

\nabla = \frac{\partial}{\partial r} \hat{\textbf{\r}} + \frac{1}{r} \frac{\partial}{\partial \phi} \hat{\textbf{\phi}} + \frac{1}{r sin\phi} \frac{\partial}{\partial \theta} \hat{\textbf{\theta}}

  • 1
    This code will not produce a “double superscript” error, for the simple reason that there's no superscript at all.
    – egreg
    Aug 16, 2015 at 8:46
  • How did you (re)define the macro \r? Is that where the double superscript error is originating?
    – Mico
    Aug 16, 2015 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


This code snippet doesn't bring a double superscript error. align is not used, also no alignment marker &.


  • \r would bring an error, I guess you (re)defined it
  • you should not use \textbf{\theta} in math context. Instead, use \boldsymbol of amsmath. It even works for bold Greek letters.
  • You should use \sin for the sine operator, so it would be upright, not italics like variables s, i, and n. You can even define your own math operators.

A compilable minimal example with those fixes:

  \nabla = \frac{\partial}{\partial r} \hat{\textbf{\r}} +
  \frac{1}{r} \frac{\partial}{\partial \phi} \hat{\boldsymbol{\phi}} +
  \frac{1}{r \sin\phi} \frac{\partial}{\partial \theta}



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