On 12/27/2022 6:33 PM, Alan Braslau via ntg-context wrote:

MWE:\starttext $a^2′$ $a′^2$ $\mathord{a′}^2$ $a^*^2$ \stoptext Should the \mathord{} be necessary to get the desired result? (I would expect the second line to work, just like $a^*^2$.)

primes are kind of special and a pain in tex

`- traditional tex sees them as superscripts and therefore expects soem`

`active character and parsing magick for successive scripts`

`- that assumes a special way of havign these primes in the font (read:`

`is it a text size thing already raised or a script one not yet raised)`

`- it also sort of spoils spacing (as one can end up with an empty`

`nucleus inserted)`

- in mkiv we use different magick than in mkii

`anyway, in lmtx (luametatex) primes have been promoted to first class`

`citizens which means that a nucleus can have`

- super(post)script - sub(post)script - superprescript - subprescript - prime

`and each comes with spacing and positioning properties cf opentype and`

`our own additions for the pre/prime)`

`there is some magick wrt subscripts as these often are indices (which is`

`why we have for instance ^^^ and ___ too)`

What you can do is: $\primed{a}^2$

`which basically makes the prime an operation .. a small price to pay for`

`more robust handling of primes (also across fonts)`

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