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Compare the following:

Here is the code and an image:

\begin{align}
    V'(t) &= 0 \\
    \mathcal{V}'(t) &= 0
\end{align}

The first has a regular 'V'. The second uses mathcal.

On my system at least, the spacing between the letter and the prime is much less in the mathcal case. Is this supposed to be the case? Is there a way to adjust it?

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    To me the spacing looks pretty much the same (i.e. the distance from the right boundary of V to the left boundary of ', see screenshot). Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 1:50
  • I was wondering about that. I guess it's aligning based on the surrounding boxes. But because the left-most point of the prime is in line with the right-most point of the mathcal V, it appears closer.
    – daviewales
    Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 1:54
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    You can always insert manual kerning, e.g. \mathcal{V}\mkern1mu'(t). Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 1:55
  • 1
    Regarding your note in the question, see Why doesn't maths render as maths?. Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 1:56
  • note that tex has no information about the shape of any character, it only has the font metrics so every character is a rectangular box of four lengths (height, width, depth, italic correction) Commented Sep 19, 2018 at 11:03

1 Answer 1

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You may use the following example. Furthermore, if space is not your interest, change the number in the new command.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amsfonts}
\usepackage{amssymb}

\newcommand*{\myprime}{^{\mkern 2mu \prime}}

\begin{document}

\begin{align}
V'(t) &= 0 \\
\mathcal{V}\myprime(t) &= 0
\end{align}

\end{document}

It gives

enter image description here

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