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Generally after writing some equations in the equation environment you explain the different letters in it in some text after.

I generally put those letter in $x$ to obtain the same formatting as in the equation. But at the same time is also just italic, so maybe \textit{x} would be better?

Thanks and have a nice day.

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    Try $v$ and \textit{v} to see that the output in an article with default LaTeX font will be different. In beamer font will be the same ... but what if you need a $x_1$ somewhere... Then you have to use both ways and this is not the best idea? – koleygr Oct 24 '18 at 7:37
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You should use $x$ when writing about a mathematical variable for two main reasons:

  • it will be typeset in your math font (it's not just italic, but also a general font switch) which will make it consistent with all other math in your document
  • it is better logical markup (you want to talk about math so your markup reflects that it is math).

Furthermore, one could argue that you should, in general, avoid text styling commands like \textit and rather use own commands for logical markup but that depends on your preference and the document, so the two reasons above are much more important.

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    Exactly. At first could sound a bit silly use \emph that produce exactly the same italics that \textit , until you notice that \emph can redefenided to emphasize in another way, for instance, with a bold font, and that is much better that redefine \textit to do anything different to italic text. – Fran Oct 24 '18 at 12:29

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