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When do mathematicians use accented characters?
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Mathematicians frequently use an accent to create a new variable from an old one, usually to denote a mathematical object with some specific functional relationship with the old one. The most commonly used accents are bar, check, circumflex, and tilde.

Example

Let $X$ be a subspace of a space $S$, and let $\bar{X}$ be the closure of $X$ in $S$.

Remark

Like accents, primes (the symbol ') may be used to denote objects functionally related to the given objects, but they are also used to create new names for objects of the same type. This latter appears to be an uncommon use for accents.

by Diamond (57,849 points)

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