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- Jan 26, 2012

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*Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems*, by Marion and Thornton. In one homework problem from the book, there was a trig function that looked something like this:

$$ \sin \; \text{stuff}_{1} \; \text{stuff}_{2} $$

Clearly, $ \text{stuff}_{1}$ was in the argument of the trig function. But what about $ \text{stuff}_{2}$? I can't remember which assumption I went with, but it ended up being the wrong one.

Ever since then, I have ALWAYS put parentheses around the arguments to any function, whether it is sine, cosine, logarithm, etc. Then there can be no misunderstanding.

Don't write so that you can be understood. Write so that you

*can't*be

*mis*understood. Don't write $ \sin x$, but $ \sin(x)$. Don't write $ \ln x$, but $ \ln(x)$. That way, you can follow the function with anything you please, with no danger of misunderstanding. Does it really take that much longer to type? Think about the time you might save some other poor soul who's reading your stuff. You might save

*him*time.