I'm learning English in recent days and I read something made me really confused. The sentence is:

π[q] is the length of the longest prefix of P that is a proper suffix of Pq.

I see that "that is a proper suffix of Pq" is a relative clause, but I don't understand what the proper suffix of Pq is, is it π[q] or something else?

  • It would be good to have the sentence in context; also, a link to it. Based on a search at Google Books, I assume it's from this book: books.google.ca/… Please confirm. Mar 21, 2015 at 16:56
  • @MariusHancu Thank you for your comment! Here is the link:imada.sdu.dk/~asp/KMP.pdf The sentence is in the second paragraph of the Introduction section.
    – Ian
    Mar 23, 2015 at 1:54
  • First understand that that's not "English", it's math-speak, which is indecipherable by mere mortals.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 23, 2015 at 3:18

1 Answer 1


The referent for the relative clause "that is a proper suffix of Pq" is: "...the longest prefix of P"

...of the (longest prefix of p) <-- (that is a proper suffix of Pq)

  • Thank you for your comment! I checked a book named "COBUILD English Grammar (Collins COBUILD Grammar)", it says relative clauses reference to the nouns immediately before it. So according to this book, the referenced noun should be "P", what do you think of it?
    – Ian
    Mar 23, 2015 at 2:07

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