Hi Brooks,

Then, a couple of lines after that, there's the second definition for
\frac, which is the one that needed patching.  This one, unlike the
first definition, is wrapped in \mathematics so that it can work outside
math mode.

So I'm wondering why only \frac has this second definition that allows
it to work outside of math mode. I would think that things should be
consistent -- either that all of the definitions in the first list
should be changed to use \mathematics, or that \frac should be returned
to the simpler version -- so that \tfrac is still simply "\frac typeset
in text mode" as one would expect it to be.

this has a historical reason; it was added because latex users expect \frac to be there and to work in text mode as well;

Even if they're all left in the current form, I'd think that the unused
definition of \frac in the first list should be removed.

well, just consider it not to be there; it should definitely not be mentioned in manuals -)

My argument for simplifying \frac to take the \mathematics out of it is
that it is a math-mode construct that typesets its arguments in math
mode, and allowing it to be used outside of math mode encourages sloppy
TeXing. It also hides the point of transition to math mode, meaning
that x and \frac{1}{x} will typeset x differently, which strikes me as
confusing. I recognize that this is a very debatable position, though,
and that there are at the very least arguments for backwards
compatiblity that contradict it.

if i remember right (maybe tobias burnus remembers more) it was mainly meant to be used in section titles; in such cases, when one sets a font explicitly, math is often not set up accordingly and frac permits one to do at least fractions


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