The following code:

 f(\textcolor{red}{-3})= 4 {\times} ~ \underbrace{\textcolor{red}{(-3)}}_{parenth\`{e}ses !!}-1

results in too much space after \times:

enter image description here

How to get (-3) close to the multiplication?

  • you can hide the width of underbrace text but why ` {\times} ~ ` which removes the normal space around times and adds a word-space (which isn't normally used in mathematics) Feb 27, 2018 at 15:35
  • I just think of the 'removes the normal space' and not the 'adds a word-space' ...
    – Jean-Pat
    Feb 27, 2018 at 15:47
  • {} removes the normal space and ~ adds the space that you would normally get between words. Feb 27, 2018 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


Use \mathclap from mathtools:

enter image description here

A few more things:

  • Consider using \mathrm \text for text in math mode. \text is context-aware, so if you are in an italic context, it will output italicized text. \mathrm, on the other hand, will discard any spaces, because it is still math-mode!

  • As David Carlisle noted, don't use the space ~ after \times. There is no need for it there.

  • Also, as @egreg and @Mico said in the comments, enclosing the \times in braces makes the spacing incorrect around it. You should, instead, enclose the whole \underbrace{...}_{...} in braces.

Code below:



 \[f(\textcolor{red}{-3})= 4 \times {\underbrace{\textcolor{red}{(-3)}}_{\mathclap{\mathrm{parenth\grave{e}ses !!}}}}-1\]
  • 1
    I would too, until @DavidCarlisle showed this earlier today :) Feb 27, 2018 at 15:46
  • 3
    Don’t brace \times, but rather the whole \underbrace
    – egreg
    Feb 27, 2018 at 15:50
  • 2
    Although I would use \text here, as this is a textual annotation (and could have needed multiple words) not an identifier like max that is just conventionally set in roman, for which I'd use \mathrm Feb 27, 2018 at 15:55
  • 3
    In your current screenshot, TeX is treating the - ("minus") symbol in front of "1" as a unary operator. As @egreg has already pointed out, you should encase the entire \underbrace{...}_{...} construct in curly braces. That way, TeX will also treat the - symbol as a binary operator. And, do remove the curly braces around \times. Oh, and since mathtools loads amsmath automatically, there's no need to load amsmath separately.
    – Mico
    Feb 27, 2018 at 15:57
  • 3
    Explanation: \underbrace{...}_{...} makes an Op atom (like \sin, for instance) and this causes incorrect spacing (in this and other cases) in front or behind it: bracing the whole part makes it into an Ord atom, which is what's needed here.
    – egreg
    Feb 27, 2018 at 16:12

You can also hide the width of parentheses!! by \makebox[0pt]{parentheses!!}. You only need to adjust the size to match a subscript using \scriptsize.


f(\textcolor{red}{-3})= 4\times{\underbrace{\textcolor{red}{(-3)}}_{\makebox[0pt]{\scriptsize parenth\`eses!!}}}-1


enter image description here


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