It is possible to write \frac 2 4 or \frac \pi 4 to get 2/4 and \pi/4, respectively.

However, it is not possible to write \frac \sqrt{2} 2 to get \sqrt{2}/2.

Are there consistent rules on how to write shorthand \frac?

  • 2
    Note that this is nothing to do with \frac per se: you will see the same with almost any commands where you provide single tokens as mandatory arguments.
    – Joseph Wright
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 18:45
  • 2
    Enclose the \sqrt{2} with {} to make it a single token. Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


The command \frac has two mandatory arguments. So you can they the first two tokens are the arguments (or simple the first two groups).

\frac \sqrt{2} 2 fails because \sqrt is the first token, {2} the second one.

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