# Should the sectioning command \paragraph be used to delimit blocks of text of more than one paragraph?

1 An example section

I've read that \paragraph is a sectioning command one level lower than \subsubsection. However, it seems to work a little differently. For one thing, it is unnumbered (unless modified).

An example paragraph Furthermore, it seems to "stick" to the text of the paragraph of text following it, i.e. it doesn't appear on a line of its own, like other sectioning commands do. Instead, its title just appears as the first few words of the paragraph in question.

This leads me to wonder: is \paragraph intended to be used simply as an unnumbered version of the nonexistent \subsubsubsection, i.e. so that it might be used to delimit multi-paragraph blocks of text, or is its significance limited only to the paragraph in which it is included (as suggested by the fact that it "sticks" to it)?

This question is formatted as an example of the first kind of usage of \paragraph mentioned above (as an unnumbered \subsubsubsection), i.e. the paragraph beginning with "This leads me to wonder" above, as well as this one, is here meant to be included under the paragraph "An example paragraph". Is this the correct usage?

2 A second example section

lorem ipsum

• I believe, that paragraph has some 'sectioning' style but without the numbering outlook, as this might look too deeply nested, say for example (with part numbering using Roman numbers) I.5.4.2.1.3, where it would mean part.chapter.section.subsection.subsubsection.paragraph. This is too much information and in my opinion, a paragraph should not contain much information, especially if it is rather short. Think of it as rather as a grouping unit with some bold font leadin- or run-in title. – user31729 Jul 14 '14 at 20:45
• \paragraph in the latex scheme of things is not equivalent to the html <p> ... </p>. it's just the terminology that the creator of latex decided to use instead of \subsubsubsection. (i guess he thought that three levels of "section"s was sufficient. he's not a lawyer.) @ChristianHupfer has got it right. and anyhow, any level of sectioning can have the numbering either included or omitted. there's plenty of documentation around on how to do it. – barbara beeton Jul 14 '14 at 20:53
• @barbarabeeton: Yes, you are right: I used them very rarely and then as \paragraph*, so I grew accustomed to see them unnumbered. – user31729 Jul 14 '14 at 20:59
• I'm totally ok with the "recommendation" (by the fact that it is a default setting) that the \paragraph should be unnumbered. I'm just concerned that the fact that it merges with the paragraph of text that it precedes, is making some kind of hint at how it should be used, that I'm missing. – andreasdr Jul 15 '14 at 0:30
• Nevermind! (see my comment below the accepted question below) – andreasdr Jul 15 '14 at 9:32

\paragraph is numbered or not just as \section is. In article section is heading level 1 and paragraph is heading level 4.

Headings are numbered down to secnumdepthwhich has an initial value of 3.

If you use

\setcounter{secnumdepth}{4}


paragraph level headings will be numbered, conversely if you use

\setcounter{secnumdepth}{0}


the sections won't be numbered.

\paragraph has absolutely no connection to "paragraphs of text" it is simply the fourth level heading command.

• But if \paragraph has no connection to "paragraphs of text", why doesn't it appear on its own line, like for instance \section? It seems to me like \paragraph:s automatic merging with the actual paragraph of text that it precedes, typographically sets it apart from other sectioning commands, such as \section. That merging has to have some kind of typographical meaning, right? – andreasdr Jul 15 '14 at 0:25
• Nevermind, I've just realized that \paragraph introduces a sizable vertical gap between it and the preceding paragraph, which makes for clear separation between parts of text. Thanks for your answer! – andreasdr Jul 15 '14 at 9:31
• @andreasdr latex has two styles of section heading, both implemented by \@startsection you can specify inline or display headings at the same point you specify the size of fonts and spaces to use. Slightly oddly it is the sign of the lengths that is used as a binary flag to switch between display and inline. If you flipped the sign of the length arguments in \paragraph it would become a display heading and if you flipped the sign in \section it would become an inline heading. The document markup is unchanged, choice of how the heading is displayed is a choice of the document class. – David Carlisle Jul 15 '14 at 9:37