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In , the main way of controlling the format of your document is by using matched pairs of \begin{ } and \end{ } commands. In terminology, such a matched pair is an environment: it specifies how the text which it encloses is to appear. There are environments to center text, to typeset a theorem, a numbered list, a table, etc. Environments may be nested. It is important that the \end{ } statements appear in the opposite order of the \begin{ } statements; that is, any \end{ } command must end the environment begun by the most recent \begin{ } command.

If you want to change the type style of a big chunk of text (more than a paragraph, to be precise), you must declare an environment:

...the following condition:

\begin{itshape}
The polynomial $p(t)$ splits...
\end{itshape}
yields ...the following condition:

The polynomial p(t) splits...
Note that you do not have to type the backslash before the typestyle name when you are using the environment declaration \begin{ } and \end{ } commands, as you do when you use the typestyle name as a command itself. An alternative (quicker) way to declare environements is to enclose the environment name preceded by a backslash along with the text to be affected in braces. Thus the above text could have been alternatively entered as (using the global form'' listed in Section 6.1):

{\itshape The polynomial $p(t)$ splits ...}

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