What is the appropriate LaTeX when I do not want a closing right bracket? Alternatively, should I setup the left bracket differently?

  r_{sj} &= 
  \left\{ \begin{array}{lc} 
     1 & \text{if $Y_j$ is observed in $s$} \\
     0 & \text{if $Y_j$ is missing in $s$} 
  \end{array} \right

Here, I do not wish to have \right\} in the text.

But I get a missing delimiter error on compiling

  • 1
    If you don't want a closing "fence" symbol -- curly brace, square bracket, round parenthesis, angle bracket, vertical bar, whatever -- simply write \right. (note the "dot" after \right). As you've observed, \right by itself throws a syntax error.
    – Mico
    Mar 24, 2017 at 21:40
  • 2
    in general you can use . but amsmath has a specific cases environment to produce this kind of display, which adds the { automatically Mar 24, 2017 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


For this kind of thing there is the cases environment. If the second columns primarily consists of text, you might want to use cases* from mathtools. If you had some other construction, where cases does not apply, you can insert an “empty” delimiter using . as in \right..

\usepackage{mathtools}% load amsmath


  r_{sj} = 
     1 & if $Y_j$ is observed in $s$ \\
     0 & if $Y_j$ is missing in $s$ \\


enter image description here

  • For other constructions, there's also the solution of the empheq package (which loads mathtools) and its eponymous environment.
    – Bernard
    Mar 24, 2017 at 23:03

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