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I've noticed something strange, and someone might be able to explain things to me. When I do the following code, everything goes awry in the footnote (the itemized phrases go outside the page):

\documentclass[10pt,a4paper]{book}
\usepackage[utf8x]{inputenc}
\usepackage{ucs}
\begin{document}
Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla\footnote{Here are the items :\begin{itemize}
\item[Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test]
\item[Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test]
\end{itemize}} test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test
\end{document}

But when I do the following, everything is ok:

\documentclass[10pt,a4paper]{book}
\usepackage[utf8x]{inputenc}
\usepackage{ucs}
\begin{document}
Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla\footnote{Here are the items :\begin{itemize}
\item Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test
\item Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test
\end{itemize}} test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test Blabla test blabla test
\end{document}

Do you have any idea why? I stumbled on the right solution almost per chance and would like to understand my first error.

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The syntax of \item command accepts one optional argument between square brackets, which stands for the item label. They are not supposed to contain the whole item text, but only a simple label for it. The itemize environment assumes you want bullets instead of labels, so it doesn't provide a good format for item's labels. Try the description environment for that purpose instead. You can check the difference with this simple minimal working example:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{lipsum}
\begin{document}
\footnote{%
A footnote with items, first with itemize environment:
\begin{itemize}
\item [Lorem] \lipsum[1]
\item \lipsum[1]
\item[{\lipsum[1]}]
\end{itemize}
And with the description environment:
\begin{description}
\item [Lorem] \lipsum[1]
\item \lipsum[1]
\item[{\lipsum[1]}]
\end{description}
}
\end{document}
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1  
you could add that \lipsum[1] must be enclosed in braces so that the optional argument of \item does not stop too early. –  Bruno Le Floch Jun 16 '11 at 3:48
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