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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
up vote 2 down vote accepted

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.

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Also, "eks plus why, the quantity, squared". – Antonio Vargas Dec 3 '12 at 0:03
Yeah, actually I like that version better anyway. – icurays1 Dec 3 '12 at 0:05
We use a lot of "the whole" like : "eks plus y the whole squared" – Inquest Dec 3 '12 at 0:09
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

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