With plain TeX e.g.


does display


as expected. With bplain format the grave accent and the left brace is combined.

Why bplain differs here?

How can a grave accent be printed in bplain with font \tt?

1 Answer 1


There is a crucial difference: plain TeX defines \` as

\def\`#1{{\accent18 #1}}

whereas \show\` with bplain.tex gives

> \`=macro:
->\OT1-cmd \`\OT1\` .

and \expandafter\show\csname OT1\string\`\endcsname produces

> \OT1\`=\long macro:
#1->\accent 18 #1.

The missing braces are the culprit; with plain TeX definition, the closing brace makes \accent to become \char, but in the bplain definition, the next token becomes the accentee.

Solution. Either give a more sensible definition

\expandafter\def\csname OT1\string\`\endcsname#1{{\accent 18 #1}}

or simply define


and do


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