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The TeX syntax highlighter that I use colors all occurrences of a number followed by " in", e.g. 0 in or 32 in in a dangerous bright red, in almost all contexts. Why?

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Probably it interprets this as "32 inches". What editor are you using? –  egreg Oct 30 '11 at 15:33
@egreg: vim and the syntax files that came with it for Ubuntu 11.10. You seem to be right by the way: it also highlights "32 pt", "32 em" and "32in". –  Tim N Oct 30 '11 at 15:35
@egreg: That's a solid answer to this question. –  Werner Oct 30 '11 at 15:53

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

I don't know about Vim and its TeX/LaTeX syntax parser. It probably uses some rule that interprets a number followed by one of the keywords in pt cm mm em ex (and maybe also the other units of measure accepted by TeX) as denoting lengths; this is usually good, but it fails in situations such as

There are 42 books on the shelf and still 32 in the box

My flavor of Emacs+AUCTeX (Aquamacs) doesn't do this: it highlights lengths only in the argument of \setlength and \addtolength.

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