I am a beginner in LaTeX and I have a problem when making a list of greek letters. This is the code down below.

    \item \kappa
    \item \iota 
    \item \lambda

The error message says:

! Missing $ inserted.
<inserted text> 
l.242   \item \kappa
  • 1
    Welcome to TeX SX! You also can load \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}\usepackage[LGR,T1]{fontenc} and typeset the real Greek etters from your keyboard, like this κ, ι, λ, or even compile with xelatex and load fontspec.
    – Bernard
    Jun 6, 2018 at 17:48

3 Answers 3


Greek letters are supposed to appear in math-mode only. Surround the greek letters with \(...\):




    \item \(\kappa\)
    \item \(\iota\)
    \item \(\lambda\)


The ! Missing $ inserted. means, in a more wordy version: "A command that requires math-mode was found outside math-mode. I inserted a $ to try to fix things."

(Surrounding with $...$ is the TeX equivalent of surrounding with \(...\)).


If you want to typeset Greek letters in text mode, I suggest you load the textgreek package and type \textalpha, \textbeta, etc.

enter image description here

\item \textalpha
\item \textbeta
\item \textgamma
\item \textdelta
\item \dots
\item \textpsi
\item \textomega

Of course, there's also \textAlpha, \textBeta, ..., \textPsi, and \textOmega.


I cannot comment to @Phelipe Oleinik, so here an addition:

If you need the upright greek letters in math environment use the package upgreek.


produce the lowercase greek letters while


produce the upright case letters. Further reading is within the documentation of upgreek.

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