I have some math structured like the following in a display math environment:

\left( \frac{ \left( \frac{a}{b} \right)^{e} }{L} \right)

enter image description here

Apparently, the outer fraction is centered vertically in the surrounding parentheses even though its numerator requires more space than the denominator L.

To me this looks unbalanced with too much space below the L.

Is there a way of shifting the entire content of the outer parentheses down?


        \left( \frac{ \left( \frac{a}{b} \right)^{e} }{L} \right)
  • ()'s are always vertically centered through the math centerline of the object they enclose. It would look strange to try moving it up or down. I'd say there is no reason to use autoscalled () here at all, try \Bigl( \frac{ ( \frac{a}{b} )^{e} }{L} \Bigr).
    – daleif
    Feb 14, 2019 at 12:37
  • I tend to use the following rule for fence scaling: "It should be clear for the reader what is being fenced in. But not to such an extent that the fences dominate the expression." This also implies that there is often no reason to use the big, bigger, biggger ... manta, the fences can just as easily get smaller the more levels you go out, and still be perfectly readable. Here it might even be much more readable if you pull \frac{1}{L} out in front.
    – daleif
    Feb 14, 2019 at 12:40
  • 3
    \frac{(a/b)^e}{L} is much better. Do you really need the outer parentheses?
    – egreg
    Feb 14, 2019 at 13:22

1 Answer 1


You might indeed use \biggl( and \biggr) but the parenthesis will look a bit short then.

If really you don't mind the parenthesis not being aligned with the surrounding text, you may lower the expression inside the parenthesis and then raise the whole expression.

\raise 2pt \hbox{$\displaystyle\left( \lower 2pt \hbox{$\displaystyle\frac{ \left( \frac{a}{b} \right)^{e} }{L}$} \right)$}

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