I want to typeset some sequences/progressions. I'm trying (in math mode):

x_1 = 2.3, x_{n+1} = x_n - 0.7 (n = 1, 2, 3, \ldots)

but the spacing is much too tight when this is typeset. For example LaTeX interprets the term showing the progression of n as a coefficient of -0.7. I understand why this is happening but don't know how to stop it.

What is the correct way to typeset sequences/progressions in LaTeX?

  • Welcome to TeX.SE. I'd add a \, to add a bit more space: $x_1 = 2.3,\, x_{n+1} = x_n - 0.7\, (n = 1, 2, 3, \ldots)$. Nov 4, 2012 at 18:55
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    Thanks Peter. That's doing the trick but I have to add a lot to make it look right so I've used \hspace{10 mm} instead. But that seems like the kind of approach LaTeX usually discourages so I'm still holding out hope for a neater solution :) Nov 4, 2012 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


i'd set this as $x_1 = 2.3$, $x_{n+1} = x_n - 0.7$ $(n = 1, 2, 3, \ldots)$ to allow both more space and the ability of the line to break in "harmless" places when it happens to fall in the last part of a line and would be too long.

after commas in sequences (but not within parentheses or other fences) and before parenthesized conditions are the recommended break points in traditional math typesetting. hence the practice of exiting and reentering math mode in such places. see the texbook, p.161.

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