In certain situations in mathematics and physics, it is common to use both a plus and a minus sign for a certain quantity, maybe because the procedure described can be explained for both signs at the same time, or because you are expressing some kind of uncertainty in physics.

Arguably the most common appearance of the plus/minus sign in mathematics is to denote the two solutions of the general equation of degree two:

$$\displaystyle x^2+bx+c=0 \implies x=\frac{-b\pm \sqrt{b^2-4c}}{2}$$

In general, the plus-minus symbol is generated in LaTeX with the \pm command inside math mode. For example, the previous equation was produced with:

% Plus minus symbol in LaTeX
$x^2+bx+c=0 \implies x=\frac{-b \pm \sqrt{b^2-4c}}{2}$


A minus plus symbol in LaTeX can be inserted using the command \mp. Check the following example:

% Minus plus symbol in LaTeX
$x^2+bx+c=0 \implies x=\frac{-b \mp \sqrt{b^2-4c}}{2}$


which yields the following output:

$$\displaystyle x^2+bx+c=0 \implies x=\frac{-b\mp \sqrt{b^2-4c}}{2}$$

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