It seems to me that "$f(x)^2$" couldn't mean anything other than "$[f(x)]^2$", so there shouldn't be any ambiguity involved, but people always tend to put an extra pair of brackets around the "$f(x)$" everywhere I see it squared. Is there a reason for this?
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The primary concern is that the parenthesized quantity will be viewed as squared, rather than the function. There can be ambiguity when you're unsure of whether the person is being sloppy by considering the argument as squared and just leaving off the brackets around $(x)^2$.