The following crashes with the error:

! LaTeX Error: Something's wrong--perhaps a missing \item.

\item item1
\item item2

Works ok with english babel. I tried the option loadonly like in enumitem conflicts with galician but without success. Crashes also with french babel.

I found a workaround:



instead of

  • 4
    I have no problem here (TeXLive2012 fully updated). Do you have an up to date version of both packages babel and enumitem?
    – cjorssen
    May 2, 2013 at 10:03
  • 2
    It works without error in my texlive 2012, adding \filelist to the preamble shows the newest package that my system loads on that example is enumitem.sty 2011/09/28 v3.5.2 Customized lists do you have an older/newer version? May 2, 2013 at 10:06

3 Answers 3


it is a problem with the language setting of frenchb.ldf. Update your system, at least babel then it will work.

  • @cjorssen I'm using MikTeX 2.9, updated the packages : babel 3.8m and enumitem 3.5.2. Still doesn't work. Command \begin{enumerate}[noitemsep,topsep=20pt] works properly though.
    – Penbeuz
    May 2, 2013 at 12:44
  • babel should be babel.sty 2013/04/15 v3.9e The Babel package
    – user2478
    May 2, 2013 at 12:57
  • 1
    Unfortunately not in MiKTeX until now …
    – Speravir
    May 2, 2013 at 22:46
  • BTW Also in my portable TeX Live 2012 for Windows is only babel 3.8m existant, and updating for known reasons not possible now.
    – Speravir
    May 2, 2013 at 23:36
  • Yes frenchb.ldf was old on my miktex version, thks
    – Penbeuz
    May 3, 2013 at 14:27

When loading [french]{babel} with MiKTeX, use the following in the preamble:


\frenchbsetup{StandardLists=true}   %% Resolves conflict between babel and enumitem

I am unaware of the exact workings behind the [french]{babel}package (I would much appreciate if someone could shed the light on the exact technical issue), but I do know that certain changes are made by babel regarding the interpretation of certain characters by LaTeX to allow for the appropriate output of lists according to french typographical standards. These changes are the cause of the conflict between babel and enumitem. The use of \frenchbsetup{StandardLists=true} will resolve this conflict.

  • very useful, esp on systems where you can not update babel! helped me solve the problem.
    – memyself
    Oct 17, 2014 at 17:50

Load Babel at the end of your preamble.

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