The following math command


produces excessive unnecessary empty space between the argument of the \sqrt and the horizontal line of the sqrt, which in turn makes the containing text line higher than others and the text look ugly.

Is there a way to avoid this typesetting fiasco?


2 Answers 2


It is very important in these cases, as observed by @David Carlisle, to write a small and complete code that reproduces your problem. Maybe my answer can help you?

enter image description here


Addendum by @campa comment

Here another code that can help you. Choose the one you like best, if all this matches the question you asked.

enter image description here

  • 1
    That seems too much of a "couter-reaction". I believe $\sqrt{GM/\smash[b]{a_p^3}}$ would be better.
    – campa
    Oct 19, 2019 at 20:08
  • @campa It's true. I accept your advice and change the answer.
    – Sebastiano
    Oct 19, 2019 at 20:09
  • I am sorry but what does \smash[b] mean?
    – Diaa
    Oct 22, 2019 at 4:52
  • @Diaa See this link for example: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/199815/…
    – Sebastiano
    Oct 22, 2019 at 7:28
  • I am so sorry, but what is the difference in this output of this document when using \smash[b]?
    – Diaa
    Oct 22, 2019 at 13:36

I assume that that you are typesetting in-line maths rather than display maths. In which case the use of \sqrt introduces some extra interline spacing. In this case it is better to use \surd (which only sets the root sign with no horizontal bar) instead of \sqrt.

Just a bit of text to set the scene, hopefully longer than a line but 
 if not it probably doesn't matter
 Some maths $\sqrt{2}$ and $\surd{2}$ and $\sqrt{GM/a_p^3}$ and 
 $\surd{(GM/a_p^3)}$ end in-line maths. But perhaps a little more text 
 is required to provide a line after the maths to provide some after

My apologies, whenever I try to post a result it never works. Please compile the above yourself.

enter image description here


With thanks to whoever posted the result above.

If you are going to use a surd instead of a square root then it is useful to have an extensible version.

\newcommand*{\absurd}{\delimiter"270370 }

where \Surd is a vertically expansible version of \surd It can be used like this:

\surd{(GM/a_p^3)}   \Surd{\left(\frac{GM/a_p^3}{GM/a_p^3}\right)}

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