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The family of displacement operators D(x,p), a central concept in the theory of coherent states of a quantum mechanical harmonic oscillator, has been successfully generalized to systems of quantized, cyclic or finite position coordinates. However, out of the plethora of mutually equivalent expressions for the displacement operators valid in the continuous case, only few are directly applicable in the other systems of interest. The aim of this paper is to strengthen the analogy between the different cases by identifying the root cause of the issues accompanying the straightforward generalization of certain important expressions and, more importantly, offering alternative ones of general validity. Ultimately we arrive at an algorithm allowing one to express any displacement operator as an exponential of a pure imaginary multiple of a generalized 'quadrature' observable that is not obtained by a linear combination of position and momentum observables but rather by a shear transform of one of them in the system's phase space.
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