# Format mathematical definitions

I want to define a list of definitions.

This is what I have:

\begin{align*}
Let & L_{1} = (Q_{1},\sum,\delta_{1},q_{1},F_{1}), and \\
& L_{2} = (Q_{2},\sum,\delta_{1},q_{2},F_{2}).
\end{align*}


I basically want it to say Let and then the two definitions to be lined up. But for some reason there is no space between Let on the first definition and also the sum symbol is huge.

I think you want to use the macro \Sigma instead of \sum. (The latter control word is an operator whose size increases in display-math environments such as align*; however, even if you typed {\textstyle\sum} you'd still get a symbol that's too large. Moreover, I think you're not trying to denote a summation operation anyway, right?) To align the two equations on the = sign, just prepend the & symbol to that sign:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
\begin{align*}
\text{Let } L_{1} &= (Q_{1},\Sigma,\delta_{1}, q_{1}, F_{1})\\
\text{and } L_{2} &= (Q_{2},\Sigma,\delta_{1}, q_{2}, F_{2})\,.
\end{align*}
\end{document}


Addendum. Prompted by Andrew's comment about the symbol to use to denote definitional equality, I'll note that Scott Pakin observes on p. 23 of his Comprehensive LaTeX symbols list (paraphrasing slightly, to accommodate the present sentence structure) "that there are a variety of ways to indicate the mathematical notion of is defined as. Common candidates include \triangleq, \equiv, \coloneq (and several variants: in txfonts, pxfonts, and mathtools the symbol is called \coloneqq; in mathabx and MnSymbol it's called \coloneq; in colonequals it's called \colonequals) and \stackrel{\text{\tiny def}}{=}." In other words, there are at least four symbols to choose from when one wishes to denote definitional equality.

• I didn't even think of putting it like that. Thanks, that will work.
– Matt
Sep 13, 2011 at 7:47
• To add a word of explanation, in the original then the Let and and are viewed as mathematics not words, so TeX "thinks" you are writing the product of L, e, and t, and typesets it accordingly. This is why Mico says to use \text{} since that tells TeX to view them as text (which is what they are). Sep 13, 2011 at 7:49
• Also, if we're commenting on choice of symbols, I'd add a vote in favour of \coloneqq instead of = since it is a definition! Sep 13, 2011 at 7:51
• @Andrew Stacey: Thanks for this; I've provided an addendum to my answer to note that there exist quite a few symbols one could use to denote definitional equality (quoting from the Comprehensive LaTeX symbols list). :-)
– Mico
Sep 13, 2011 at 8:39
\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\begin{document}
\begin{align*}
\makebox[2em][l]{Let} L_{1} &= (Q_{1},\Sigma,\delta_{1},q_{1}, F_{1})\\
\makebox[2em][l]{and} L_{2} &= (Q_{2},\Sigma,\delta_{1}, q_{2}, F_{2})\,.
\end{align*}
\end{document}

• Is there some extra generality gained by using \makebox[2em][l]{Let} instead of \text{Let }? Just curious.
– Mico
Sep 13, 2011 at 10:53
• sure, my lines are left aligned.
– user2478
Sep 13, 2011 at 13:10