I was studying math and while doing some summations I made a notation and I don't know if it's valid/ correct so I was about to ask that on the StackExchange Math Community when I realized that I didn't actually know how to ask it:

Is this notation valid/correct/other for showing/expressing/other this summation?

I searched "valid notation" and "correct notation" and both seem to be right, so
1) Can I use them interchangeably? Any other option?.
About showing/expressing I've founded that at least in math, show seems to be used just to request a proof, so
2) Should I use express or other verb?

(metaQuestion: If any part of this question(not just the math one) sounds strange to you and you want to make some comment about it, I'll appreciate it too)

  • 2
    My colloquial version: "Is this notation good in this summation?" -- A little more formal version (just a little): "Is the use of this notation in this summation proper/appropriate/correct/valid?" Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 8:09

2 Answers 2


1) I think they could be used interchangeably in the context of you asking if something is correct/valid. I think there could a slight difference in connotation if someone else is telling you that something is valid or correct. If they say an answer, for example, is valid, then they might be implying that there are other valid answers as well. If they say the answer is correct, then it implies that there is only one correct answer.

2) I think "showing" and "expressing" are both good verbs in this context. Another verb that might also be appropriate is "denote" as in "the plus symbol (+) denotes a summation."

  • Good point on valid and correct not always being the same. You might have a valid train ticket, but if it has someone else's name on it, it's not the correct one for you.
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 22:00

"Valid" or "correct" are both fine here. You are correct that "show" in math jargon often means to prove something, so it might be best to avoid that word here. "Expressing" should work fine.

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