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ou will often come across symbols in mathematics that you don’t know the meaning of. This appendix is designed to help you work out what a mathematical symbol means, knowing only what it looks like. A lot of mathematical notation involves how expressions are arranged around each other, so I need a ‘wild card’ symbol to stand for any mathematical expression; I’ve chosen $\clubsuit$. Go to the first section that fits your symbol in the list below:

Is it a letter from the latin alphabet, but written in an unusual way? (If it’s written normally, check the index.) See Section b.1: Font.

Is it a combination of symbols, arranged in a way you don’t understand? See Section b.2: Arrangements of Symbols.

Does it involve one or more circles? See Section b.3: Circles.

Does it involve one or more dots? See Section b.4: Dots.

Are there two symbols which are mirror images of each other, surrounding other symbols? See Section b.5: Brackets.

Does it involve only straight lines? See Section b.6: Straight Lines Only.

None of the above? See Section b.7: Curved Lines and Section b.8: The Greek Alphabet.