Show Summary Details
Page of

# Stacked vs Unstacked

Stacked vs Unstacked
Chapter:
Mathematical Composition
Page of

PRINTED FROM AMA MANUAL OF STYLE ONLINE (www.amamanualofstyle.com). © American Medical Association, 2009. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the license agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in AMA Manual of Style Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Subscriber: null; date: 18 March 2018

# Stacked vs Unstacked

Stacking of fractions (ie, separating numerator and denominator by a horizontal line) should be avoided in favor of “unstacking” (ie, using a slash in place of the horizontal line) unless this sacrifices clarity (see 8.4.4, Punctuation, Forward Slash [Virgule, Solidus], In Equations).

$Display mathematics$

Whenever a fraction is unstacked, parentheses, brackets, and braces (collectively called “fences” in mathematical notation) should be used as appropriate to avoid ambiguity. For instance, the expression

$Display mathematics$

if written as a + b + c/d + e, is ambiguous and could have several interpretations, such as

$Display mathematics$
or
$Display mathematics$

The expression’s meaning is unambiguous if set off as follows:

$Display mathematics$

Parentheses should be used to set off simple expressions. If additional fences are needed for clarity, parenthetical expressions should be set off in brackets, and bracketed expressions should be set off with braces. Note that parentheses are thus always the innermost fences (see In Formulas in 8.5.2, Punctuation, Parentheses and Brackets, Brackets). All fences should be present in matched pairs.

$Display mathematics$