# When writing a paper, is it more advisable to write $1/(2n)$ or $\frac{1}{2n}$ in line with text?

I have lots of doubts (questions) on how to best present my findings.

I'm not sure if most writers use the horizontal $1/(2n)$ to keep the line narrow, or the vertical $\frac{1}{2n}$, which widens the line.

Also, may I use the future tense at will on a math paper (e.g., "we will prove that X, Y, and Z, etc.")? A guy with uwaterloo told me to avoid future tense and passive voice, which doesn't made much sense to me.

I know there isn't an absolute truth to go by, but there must be some standards or best practices?

• I think egreg would tell you "use $1/(2n)$ only in cooking recipes" :) Aug 25, 2018 at 7:07
• Aug 25, 2018 at 7:16
• @CarLaTeX To the contrary, 1/(2n) is correct. It can also be 1/2n provided it's explained at least once in the paper, in order to clear up possible ambiguities in precedence of operations. Aug 25, 2018 at 9:27
• @egreg without \frac? Aug 25, 2018 at 9:42
• @CarLaTeX Don't confuse algebra with nicefrac. ;-) Aug 25, 2018 at 10:11

## 2 Answers

Off topic, but in inline text, always use $$...$$ instead of $...$. Similarly, use $...$ and not $$...$$.

To answer your question: I would prefer 1/2n most of the times, as it can usually be understood as meaning 'one divided by 2n', though I understand that it can be frowned upon by some. I think this is not that big of a problem if you make sure that, when you really mean 'half times n', use some other type of notation such as 0.5n or, better, \tfrac{1}{2} n (the \tfrac command is made for exactly this purpose). On the other hand 1/(2n) is really excessive and I would never use it. You can also consider simply \tfrac{1}{2n} but that can make the fraction too small to be readable, but at least it preserves line spacing unlike \frac{1}{2n} (or worse, \dfrac). This has the advantage of never causing confusion.

• While I agree that $...$ is preferable to $$...$$ (tex.stackexchange.com/q/503/35864), there are not that many strong reasons to prefer $$...$$ over $...$ (see tex.stackexchange.com/q/510/35864). I must say that I find 1/2n for 1/(2n) dangerous and would not recommend it. Aug 25, 2018 at 9:05
• Isn't \tfrac simply \frac in text mode (similarly \dfrac for display mode)? So using \frac and \tfrac should not make any difference in inline math. Aug 25, 2018 at 9:21
• And btw: The OP did explicitly ask about 1/(2n) and not (1/2)n. Aug 25, 2018 at 9:22
• note that there is a big difference between comparing $/\( and $$/\[ . $$ is not supported latex syntax at all and should not be used, conversely $ is fully supported and equivalent to \( apart from different error behaviour. I think it would be best if you removed the first paragraph. Aug 25, 2018 at 10:57
• also your comment about \tfrac is wrong. \tfrac and \frac give identical layout in this context. Aug 25, 2018 at 10:58

This is purely my opinion, but I feel that $1/(2n)$ is far more stylistically elegant when used in running text. This is discussed more in the first page or so of Chapter 17 of The TeXBook (you know, the one by Knuth).

• The problem is that at times you have longer equations that need to go inline and it's impossible to not use an actual formula, so that plain standard is disrupted, and I like to stick to the same standard.
– user168592
Aug 25, 2018 at 17:38
• @JRS. I'm afraid I don't understand at all what you're trying to say here. Aug 25, 2018 at 19:47
• I can't draw, sorry, use your imagination. Then again, it's not important anyway.
– user168592
Aug 25, 2018 at 19:52