12-Feb-01 19:44 Hans Aberg wrote:
>>how do you do without markup in this case:
>>
>>  The $a$ in the formula is a variable

> The usual remark on this: Can you parse it? :-) -- If you can parse it, it
> must be possible. Right?

Consider a sentence which cannot be parsed by a human (I think there is no
problem with examples:-). But when an author writes such a sentence, he
doesn't parse a written sentence, he parses his thought. And that is much
simplier. So the full path looks like: when the thought is in author's head,
he knows that this 'a' is a variable, not an article; then he writes '$a$'
in .tex file; then a reader sees an italic 'a' in a printed text and
understands that this is a variable.

In speech, pronunciation helps us and we can emphasize something with
intonation. For example compare (a+b)/c & a+b/c in speech. I think the
simplest way to distinguish them is to put a pause in different places: a+b
<pause> over c  vs.  a <pause> plus b over c.

BTW, punctuation marks are also a markup. And everything written above is
also valid for punctuation: sometimes it can be placed automatically,
simetimes not.

Best regards,
Sasha