From a Baidu page about 拉丁矩 (Latin rectangles, a topic in combinatorial mathematics, and one of my research topics), we have the following sentence (listed as 定义1; I trim back some of the mathematics notation):


I translate this to something like:

If A is an m×s matrix, such that every row is an s-permutation of {1,...,n} and every column is an m-permutation of {1,...,n}, then A is a Latin rectangle.

I'm confused about the grammar here, and in particular, the use of (what seems to be) the following:

设A是[a mathematical object], 若A的[conditions], 则称A是[a special type of that mathematical object].

I'm seeking a better overall idea of how this structure works, e.g., how frequently this is used, other examples, and what , , and are doing in the sentence.

Question: How does 设A是..., 若A的..., 则称A是... work for mathematical definitions?

  • see dictionaries, 设suppose, 若if, supposing, assuming, 则 then, 称 (call, name)is called, for more examples, find English original and Chinese translation of mathematical textbooks (available at university libraries)
    – user6065
    Jul 5, 2018 at 10:31
  • But I think there's more materials in English about Latin Squares hahaha. P.S. I was taught the term "Latin Square" 拉丁方 when I was learning discrete mathematics last year. : ) Jul 5, 2018 at 10:35
  • 则称是 is a little weird. I think it should be 则称A是. Then (we) call A [a special type of that mathematical object]. What's important is , I can't find your original sentence in the link, is it edited by anyoneone after you post this question?
    – user19549
    Jul 5, 2018 at 10:35
  • Oh I see the difference: A latin square has to be a square while a latin rectangle doesn't. Jul 5, 2018 at 10:37
  • 1
    @神秘德里克 Yeah, I find that the original sentence in the given link is actually “则称A是”. Jul 5, 2018 at 10:45

1 Answer 1

  • 「設」is short for 假設 (Suppose that...)

  • 「若」means if

  • 「則稱」, literally then (it is) called, should just be taken as then.


「Suppose that」A is an m by s matrix.「If」every row of A is an s-permutation of {1, ..., n} and every column is an m-permutation of {1, ..., n},「then」A is an m by s Latin rectangle.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.