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MathGroup Archive 2004

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Re: Primed Variables in Mathematica

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg50699] Re: [mg50652] Primed Variables in Mathematica
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 01:16:29 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <>
  • Reply-to: murray at
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Interesting typographical issue here (I won't respond to the issue of 
using primed variables).

TraditionalForm[f'] gives an entirely pleasing, raised prime. 
TraditionalForm[f''] does, too.
TraditionalForm[f'''] gives an appealing rendering of f with a 
superscript (3).

David Park wrote:
> Primed variables are in such common use in textbooks and papers that I don't understand why Mathematica doesn't allow them.
> Of course, x' represents a derivative, but there is a prime character that can be obtained by esc ' esc or by \[Prime]. 
> x\[Prime] // Head
> Symbol
> But the problem is that the \[Prime] character is not raised but sits at the same level as x. It would be much better if the \[Prime] character were raised to the normal level to give better looking expressions. I admit that there could be some visual confusion, but not Mathematica confusion, with derivatives, but it would usually be clear from context.
> I wish that WRI would fix the Prime, DoublePrime, ReversePrime and ReverseDoublePrime characters so they displayed at the correct vertical level in expressions.
> David Park
> djmp at

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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