There are several questions regarding subscripts on Stack Exchange, but I did not find an answer to my specific problem.

I want to write something about P_1 ... P_n and then about R_en-1 ... R_en-q.

1-q is a range of numbers that are specific for English (en is a shorthand for English). So "1" and "q" are supposed to look like the "1" and "n" that are used in P_1 and P_n. The "-" in "en-1" should not be a minus sign.

I tried the following (with textit and without):

UG = P$_1$ $\wedge$ P$_2$ $\wedge$ \ldots{} $\wedge$ P$_n$ $\wedge$
     R$_{\textit{en-1}}$ $\vee$ \ldots{} $\vee$ R$_{\textit{en-q}}$

But I get either a minus sign and too much space around the "-" or a different font for the numbers.

How is this done properly?

One comment pointed me to the question about dashes and this helped. I put the "-" in an \mbox.

UG = P$_1$ $\wedge$ P$_2$ $\wedge$ \ldots{} $\wedge$ P$_n$ $\wedge$
     (R$_{en\mbox{-}1}$ $\vee$ \ldots{} $\vee$ R$_{en\mbox{-}q}$

But it is not perfect, the dash seems to be too high:

Enter image description here

Is there a way to fix that?

  • 1
    See also: stackoverflow.com/questions/436823/… Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 8:54
  • 1
    Out of interest, can you provide an example of this notation in a published work of mathematics? It appears somewhat unusual to me, partially because of the ambiguity that requires you to ask the question in the first place. "Normally" I'd expect to see either $R_{en,q}$ or $R_{{en}_q}$ or similar. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 8:59
  • 5
    This is not mathematics, it is linguistics. Linguists do funny things ... =;-) Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 9:01
  • And UG = Universal Grammar?
    – TRiG
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 16:07
  • @StefanMüller And En=English, De=Deutsch?
    – wythagoras
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 19:57

3 Answers 3


I would do something like this (use \mathit if the "en" should be italic too)

\newcommand\mathdash{\text{\normalfont -}}

\mathrm{UG} = \mathrm{P}_1 \wedge \mathrm{P}_2 \wedge \ldots{} \wedge \mathrm{P}_n \wedge
              \mathrm{R}_{\mathrm{en}\mathdash1}\vee \ldots{} \vee \mathrm{R}_{\mathrm{en}\mathdash q}


enter image description here


You may appreciate a different way for typing in your code:


\NewDocumentCommand{\lingf}{sm}{% linguistic formula
  \mathgroup0 #2%
\NewDocumentCommand{\ls}{om}{% linguistic subscript


% \lingf* makes an inline formula    
  UG = P\ls{1} \wedge P\ls{2} \wedge \dots \wedge P\ls{n} \wedge
       R\ls[en]{1}\vee \dots \vee R\ls[en]{q}

% \lingf can be used inside math mode
\lingf{UG} ={}& \lingf{P\ls{1} \wedge P\ls{2} \wedge \dots \wedge P\ls{n} \wedge{}}\\
              & \lingf{R\ls[en]{1}\vee \dots \vee R\ls[en]{q}}


enter image description here

%\usepackage{unicode-math}%  if using xelatex/lualatex
    $\mathrm{UG} = \mathrm{P}_1 \wedge \mathrm{P}_2 \wedge \ldots \wedge \mathrm{P}_n 
    \mathrm{R}_{en\text{-}1} \vee \ldots \vee \mathrm{R}_{en\text{-}q}$ 

in this special case you can also use en\text-1 and en\text-q

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