# Handwriting - rho and p.

1. Nov 18, 2009

### Just a nobody

Does anyone have any handwriting suggestions to keep rho (lowercase) and p from looking too alike?

Currently, I differentiate them by making the top left corner of rho rounded and keeping the top left corner of p pointed. However, this isn't a very noticeable difference, especially when writing them small (e.g. in exponents).

2. Nov 18, 2009

### JasonRox

What is rho?

3. Nov 18, 2009

### Just a nobody

rho = $$\rho$$

It's often used to represent density and the radial component in spherical coordinates, among other things.

4. Nov 18, 2009

### tiny-tim

Hi Just a nobody !

I write p with a straight tail, and ρ with a nice curly tail. :tongue2:

5. Nov 18, 2009

### leroyjenkens

Why do they choose Greek symbols that resemble our alphabet? There's plenty of others they can choose from that look unique. Or are they all already taken?

6. Nov 18, 2009

### Ben Niehoff

Just wait until you get to write such lovely expressions as

$$\mathbf{X} \times \mathbf{\chi}(x)$$

7. Nov 18, 2009

### Chi Meson

as a teacher, I make sure my students make a difference between rho and p, just as they must make a difference between nu and v. The trick is with seriphs.

the rho is a single stroke, starting below the line going up, curving around and NOT quite contacting the stem.

the "p" begins with a seriph, then downstroke, then up and looping to make definite contact with the stem.

Similarly, the nu begins with a straight down line, then a back-curving up stroke and maybe even a small inward seriph. The "v" is a "v" ending with an outward seriph.

8. Nov 18, 2009

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
I always just made rho a lot more slanty, plus it's more curved because you start at the bottom of the stem and draw it all in one stroke. A p starts with a straight up and down line.

9. Nov 18, 2009

### lisab

Staff Emeritus
Yes, I also made mine slanty, and I also put a curly tail on it.

10. Nov 18, 2009

### Ben Niehoff

I write my rhos backwards from you people. I start at the baseline, draw the circular part counter-clockwise, and then follow through to the descender. I usually make the descender fairly straight, althought sometimes it has a slight wave in it.

For p, I first make the vertical line, and then make the circle in a second stroke.

11. Nov 18, 2009

### Dembadon

What do you mean, "you people"?

:tongue:

12. Nov 18, 2009

### rolerbe

I put a reverse (to the left) tail hook on rho.

13. Nov 18, 2009

### waht

I write rho at an angle, and leave a gap in the circle part of it close to the stem.

14. Nov 19, 2009

### Office_Shredder

Staff Emeritus
The question of whether a letter is rho or p is $$N \rho$$ complete

15. Nov 19, 2009

### Vanadium 50

Staff Emeritus
I also use serifs. A p will have a serif on the descender. A nu will have a serif on the right stroke. If I have an upper case X and a Chi, the X will have a serif on the top right.

16. Nov 19, 2009

### ninar

yes! rho is kinda italic and rounded, and "p" has a point sticking out.

But SERIOUSLY why do they do this??? For example use x, y, and lambda! you can esasily erase/add a little line to each, specially when theyre subs. it is also horrible to see a badly drawn sigma with a little curve sticking out and it looks like theta. oh!! and also "sub" z or "sub" 2... or, a less common, when its marker on board, they just poke a little dot: "is it... multiplying or substracting?" :tongue2:

17. Nov 19, 2009

### ninar

also, silly question, but are there any phrasings of mathematics in english that are funny? For example, I had a teacher that literally couldnt contain her laughter every single time she said "sin of theta", in spanish "seno de la teta" seno=boob teta=tit... she also laughed with "p2" =fart in spanish... there were others but i cant remember

18. Nov 20, 2009

### rolerbe

Never send a spanish teacher to do a mathematicians job!

19. Nov 20, 2009

### Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
ρ or ρ vs p

My favorite Greek symbol is $$\xi$$ followed by $$\zeta$$

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