I spell-checked my document, but somehow I must've added or deleted some '}' or something because LaTeX can't compile past a certain page, giving the error:

Runaway argument?
{J. Clerk Maxwell\index {Maxwell, James Clerk (1831-1879)}, \textit {\ETC.
! File ended while scanning use of \@footnotetext.
<inserted text> 


? H
I suspect you have forgotten a `}', causing me
to read past where you wanted me to stop.
I'll try to recover; but if the error is serious,
you'd better type `E' or `X' now and fix your file.

I'm having a really hard time finding out what is triggering this, especially since the 87 pages of DVI that latex outputs before it halts looks completely fine, and Emacs's check-parens doesn't find any missing parens…

Any ideas what is causing this?

closed as off-topic by Werner, barbara beeton, Peter Jansson, Svend Tveskæg, Malipivo Apr 23 '14 at 6:50

  • This question does not fall within the scope of TeX, LaTeX or related typesetting systems as defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Perhaps check-parens only checks parentheses and not {...} pairs? What does that specific \footnote entry look like? Can you supply us with the code? – Werner Apr 23 '14 at 5:15
  • @Werner: I have no idea what the specific \footnote entry is because the line number it specifies doesn't contain any code matching this {J. Clerk Maxwell\index {Maxwell, James Clerk (1831-1879)}, \textit {\ETC. pattern. It must've come earlier, but I've got tons of code earlier matching that form… – Geremia Apr 23 '14 at 5:17
  • @Werner: Also, Emacs's check-parens checks quotes, brackets, curly brackets, round parens… everything. – Geremia Apr 23 '14 at 5:18
  • Well then, you might just as well ask us to find a needle in a haystack. At least you can see the haystack and search for the needle. All we can do is walk around blindly, poking around in hopes we stumble upon the haystack, let alone the tiny needle. A long point to say that it's not possible to solve your problem in its current state; put yourself in the shoes of the community. Would you be able to solve someone's problem with only this amount of information? – Werner Apr 23 '14 at 5:23
  • 4
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about localized problem that may not be of much help to a wider audience. – Werner Apr 23 '14 at 5:39

The problem was that I had a mismatched \begin{quotation}/\end{quotation} pair, which Emacs's check-parens could not check for.

Also, Emacs's check-parens did not find that there was an open '{' in a \footnote{. I wonder why I couldn't detect that.

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