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When I want text to be large I say:

{\Large lorem}

When I want text to be bold I say:

\textbf{lorem}

Why the inconsistency? What's the implementation detail or philosophy behind these two different forms?

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1 Answer

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You're missing the fact that there's also

{\bfseries lorem}

Font-switching/formatting commands come in two varieties: A command that takes an argument and applies its formatting only to that argument (\textbf{lorem}), and a switch that will apply until counteracted by another switch or the end of the group the switch was enabled within ({\bfseries lorem}). Note that the "argument form" is meant for short text fragments, as it doesn't allow a paragraph end within its argument.

One can imagine font size commands like \textlarge which would act like \textbf. IMO, the reason that the former commands don't exist is that (contrary to formatting commands) there's no practical need to switch to another font size for short text fragments. Non-standard font sizes are rather used, e.g., for footnotes and perhaps quotes, and the font size switch is part of the respective command/environment definition.

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That's a good way to look at it. Using the terminology of CSS, large is a property for blocks, while bold is an inline property. Thanks. –  Patrick Stenson May 23 '12 at 15:10
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another reason for not having \textlarge{hello} is that {\large hello} is almost always wrong. Size change commands should always include the blank line or \par at end of paragraph as the lines are given a baselineskip based on the settings at the end of the paragraph. –  David Carlisle May 23 '12 at 15:39
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