We have used an asterisk for the multiplication operator. This is not really unusual; many computer languages and graphics calculators work this way. So, a statement such as this can mean three times two:

3 * 2

But there are other common ways to note multiplication. Each of the following are usually accepted to mean three times two:

If you were using variables, such as p and q, multiplication could be shown in any of these ways:

In fact, in such cases involving variables you can indicate a multiplication by simply placing the variables next to each other. The following means p times q:

pq

The above method does not work for numbers, though. If you try to state three times two using this method you end up with:

32

Which, obviously, is thirty-two, not at all
equal to six. If you want to put two numbers next to each
other in order to indicate multiplication, you need to use
** parentheses**. Any of the following correctly states three
times two:

3(2)

(3)2

(3)(2)

And what if you want to show a number times a variable? Well, here is five times x:

5x

The number comes first, and no parentheses are required. Although strictly not incorrect, the following forms are not normally used in mathematics notation:

x5

(5)x

5(x)

(5)(x)

Where are you?

Other Representations Besides Numbers for Values

Introduction to Operators and Operands

More about Operators and Operands

And Now Including Variables and Functions

*Here: Just a Few Notes about Multiplication*