In order to improve the \sameword feature of reledmac, I would like to find a way to automatically apply a command to every word. For example, in plain TeX,

\def\foo#1{#1 (#1)}
foo bar foo bar foo bar foo, foo? foo. foo;

should be automatically transformed to

\def\foo#1{#1 (#1)}
\foo{foo} \foo{bar} \foo{foo} \foo{bar} \foo{foo} \foo{bar} \foo{foo}, \foo{foo}? \foo{foo}. \foo{foo};

My constraints are:

  • excluding the punctuation mark
  • excluding some commands (for example foo\footnote{bar} should become \foo{foo}\footnote{bar} and not \foo{foo\footnote{bar}})
  • if possible, working with pdfTeX, XeTeX and LuaTeX, but a LuaTeX-only solution would be nice.
  • using any already existing LaTeX package (but a pure plainTeX is also accepted)
  • Your second constraint is the difficult one... how to exclude some/all macros. Dec 1, 2015 at 12:24
  • yes, I know. Notes that the list of excluded macro could be defined manually.
    – Maïeul
    Dec 1, 2015 at 12:27
  • Related: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/253203/…. My answer there also shows how to do "something" to each word. However, excluding macros would be an issue. Dec 1, 2015 at 12:28
  • Your example caused my answer to fail!! finally realised it was the example that is wrong, plain tex \footnote takes (effectively) two arguments not one:-) see the usage in my update answer. Dec 1, 2015 at 12:59
  • 1
    Just wondering whether preprocessing the source could be an alternative …? The script would only have to check for duplicate words that are max. 80 or so characters apart, so I'd imagine it wouldn't take too long to run.
    – Florian
    Dec 1, 2015 at 13:26

3 Answers 3


It would be so easy to break this, but..

enter image description here

\def\foo#1{#1 (#1)}
\def\xfoo#1 {%
\ifx\footnote#4\foo{#1}\footnote{#2}{#3} \else\afoo#1?\relax\fi}
\def\afoo#1?#2\relax{\ifx?#2\foo{#1}? \else\bfoo#1,\relax\fi}
\def\bfoo#1,#2\relax{\ifx,#2\foo{#1}, \else\cfoo#1;\relax\fi}
\def\cfoo#1;#2\relax{\ifx;#2\foo{#1}; \else\dfoo#1.\relax\fi}
\def\dfoo#1.#2\relax{\ifx.#2\foo{#1}. \else\foo{#1} \relax\fi}


% assumes a space before the par
\def\yfoo#1\par{\xfoo#1!@ \par}


foo bar foo bar foo\footnote{$^1$}{bar} bar foo, foo? foo. foo;


IMHO you need something like this:

\def\everyword#1#2{\let\domacro=#1\everywordA#2 {} }
\def\everywordA#1 {\ifx^#1^\else
   \def\tmp{}\everywordB #1\end
   \expandafter\everywordA \fi
\def\everywordC{\ifcat\noexpand\next A\expandafter\everywordD
                \else \expandafter\everywordE \fi}

\def\foo#1{#1 (#1)}
\everyword\foo{foo bar foo bar foo bar foo, foo? foo. foo;}

The main idea of this macro is: we process each word separated by space first and each such word is divided to two parts: first the letter tokens (catcode 11) and second all tokens of another type.


An implementation with xparse and the l3regex module of expl3; first the appearances of \footnote are kept out of the way, then in each piece runs of characters that are not spaces or punctuation are given as argument to a macro whose meaning can be set with \setxsamewordformat:


  \maieul_xsameword:n { #1 }

\tl_new:N \l__maieul_xsameword_list_tl

\cs_new_protected:Nn \maieul_xsameword:n
  \tl_set:Nn \l__maieul_xsameword_list_tl
    \__maieul_xsameword_start:n { #1 }
   { (\c{footnote}\cB..*?\cE.) }
   { \cE\} \1 \c{__maieul_xsameword_start:n} \cB\{ }
  \tl_use:N \l__maieul_xsameword_list_tl
\cs_new_protected:Nn \__maieul_xsameword_start:n
  \tl_set:Nn \l__maieul_xsameword_list_tl { #1 }
   { ([^\s,.!?]+) }
   { \c{maieul_xsameword_format:n} \cB\{ \1 \cE\} }
  \tl_use:N \l__maieul_xsameword_list_tl

  \cs_set_protected:Nn \maieul_xsameword_format:n { #1 }

\setxsamewordformat{#1 (#1)}



\xsameword{foo \textit{bar} baz? foo\footnote{footnote footnote} bar}


\xsameword{foo \textit{bar} baz? foo\footnote{footnote footnote} bar}


enter image description here

Note that also non ASCII characters are managed.

  • I think your answer, as based on regexp, is the better one. I will look on it more carefuly later.
    – Maïeul
    Dec 1, 2015 at 15:43
  • 2
    @Maïeul There are limitations, of course: something like \textit{foo\footnote{bar}} is not going to work. Also efficiency is out of the question, I'm afraid. More testing with real use cases would be needed to fine tune it. The list of “exceptions” can be extended.
    – egreg
    Dec 1, 2015 at 15:49
  • yes of course. For now, I have to understand your code well.
    – Maïeul
    Dec 1, 2015 at 16:04
  • however, maybe the solution proposed by @florian will be the best one: using external script.
    – Maïeul
    Dec 1, 2015 at 16:12
  • \usepackage{xparse,l3regex} dont work, see: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/479650/…
    – AndréC
    Oct 6, 2019 at 9:26

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