I am still new in LaTeX - beginner. How can I have the equation to look like this (the example is shown in ms word):

Lexical level:      f o x + plural (‘+’ is a morpheme boundary)

Surface level:      f o x e s

Two-level rule:     e:+ ↔ x:x _ 0:s

image of example

The 'f' at lexical level must be align with the 'f' at the surface level. Do I have to put it in a table so that each of the characters can be aligned?

  • Could you please add an image? (I know, you cannot directly add images yet, but just upload it to imgur and post the link -- the image can then be integrated once you have 10 rep)
    – Caramdir
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 1:23
  • here you goes: imgur.com/pAzfS?full
    – ssaee
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 1:43

2 Answers 2


An alternative would be a tabbing environment:

 Lexical level:\qquad \=f~\=o~\=x + plural (`+' is a morpheme boundary)\\
 Surface level:       \>f \>o \>x~e~s\\
 Two-level rule:     \>e:\textsuperscript{+} $\leftrightarrow$ x:x \_ 0:s

\= sets a tab stop on the first line. \> moves to it on the next line and subsequent ones.


If you want to align the 'f' on each level, a table is probably easiest:

Lexical level:    &    f o x + plural   \\
Surface level:    &    f o x e s        \\

The basic table environment is tabular. The rl means the table has two columns, the first right-justified and the second left-justified. Then just put in your entries row-by-row, using & to skip to the next column and \\ to skip to the next row. This is probably enough for your current purposes, but when you end up wanting to make a proper table you should check out the LaTeX Wikibook.

As for the other part of your question, I'm afraid I don't have enough linguistics training to know what "e:+ ↔ x:x _ 0:s" should look like. It would be great if you could point us to an example of what you'd like to get. That being said, you can get ↔ with $\leftrightarrow$; an underscore with \_ or a longer underlined space with \rule{1cm} or \underline{\hspace{1cm}}; and ∅ (if you're looking for that instead of 0) with \emptyset or \varnothing.

  • I wondering if using an inline verbatim from the listings package would help to vertically align the characters in f o x e s Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 2:43
  • @Will It can be achieved using a monospace font
    – yannisl
    Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 2:57
  • @Will, @Yiannis: a monospace font would certainly work to vertically align the characters in f o x e s, using \verb or otherwise. This might not be great for aligning the fs in the first place, though. It works in this case --- fortunately, "Lexical" and "Surface" have the same number of letters! --- but in general you'd have to add verbatim spaces (or worse) to get the spacing exactly right. Commented Nov 24, 2010 at 3:56
  • guys, i just tried using tabbing environment and it works!
    – ssaee
    Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 4:27

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