# Properly say superscripts locations

In english:

• $\bigl(x+y^2\bigr)$ is ('x' plus 'y' squared)
• $(x+y)^2$ is ('x' plus 'y' squared)
How can I make the difference in english between the two?
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I try to add a pause, as in "$x$ plus...$y^2$" vs "$x$ plus $y$, squared." If there's ambiguity, I sometimes make the parentheses with my hands while speaking. –  Julian Rosen Dec 3 '12 at 0:01
Some people say "the quantity $x+y$ pause squared" to flag to the listener that there is something appearing in parentheses. I won't say this is much more useful than other methods, though :) –  rschwieb Dec 3 '12 at 0:26

To completely eliminate all confusion, many people will use "$x$ plus $y$-squared" for the first, and "$x$ plus $y$ quantity squared" for the second one.
I think "$x$ plus $y$-squared" is still ambiguous. I'd go for "$x$ plus quantity $y$-squared," or "$x$ plus the square of $y$." Or "$y$ squared plus $x$." –  Gerry Myerson Dec 3 '12 at 10:23