[texhax] \binom

c.a.rowley at open.ac.uk c.a.rowley at open.ac.uk
Sun Mar 1 23:55:54 CET 2009

>> There's a wee problem in that \binom{3}{4} would denote

That rather assumes the 'standard formatting' of this bit of TeX.

There is no definition of what mathematical expression any bit of TeX

There are some common conventions and these are built into many non-TeX
applications (see last week's quiz for an example).

By contrast, TeX itself allows a package-writer to make any character or
macro produce any formatting she likes.

It seems highly likely to me that there are LaTeX packages that make the
formatted output of \binom very different from the US (AMS) standard that
was described on this list.  These would be needed for high school maths in
many European countries (different for different traditions/countries).

Note also the moral that just because a bit of maths notation looks
convincing, it can easily be mathematical garbage.


1.  reading the TeX (or equally the formatted output) can at best only give
a hint to the knowledgable concerning its 'mathematical meaning'.

2.  the power of the LaTeX approach is that reading the TeX often tells you
little about the deatiled visual appearance of the formatted output.


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