# Abuse of notation

In mathematics, abuse of notation occurs when an author uses a mathematical notation in a way that is not entirely formally correct, but which might help simplify the exposition or suggest the correct intuition (while possibly minimizing errors and confusion at the same time). However, since the concept of formal/syntactical correctness depends on both time and context, certain notations in mathematics that are flagged as abuse in one context could be formally correct in one or more other contexts. Time-dependent abuses of notation may occur when novel notations are introduced to a theory some time before the theory is first formalized; these may be formally corrected by solidifying and/or otherwise improving the theory. Abuse of notation should be contrasted with misuse of notation, which does not have the presentational benefits of the former and should be avoided (such as the misuse of constants of integration). A related concept is abuse of language or abuse of terminology, where a term — rather than a notation — is misused. Abuse of language is an almost synonymous expression for abuses that are non-notational by nature. For example, while the word representation properly designates a group homomorphism from a group G to GL(V), where V is a vector space, it is common to call V "a representation of G". Another common abuse of language consists in identifying two mathematical objects that are different, but canonically isomorphic. Other examples include identifying a constant function with its value, identifying a group with a binary operation with the name of its underlying set, or identifying to the Euclidean space of dimension three equipped with a Cartesian coordinate system. (Wikipedia).

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