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There are at least 2 ways to insert a vertical white space between two paragraphs: medskip and vphantom. Which one should be preferred for example for spacing paragraphs in "The Chaos" poem?

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    If this vertical space is equal at all paragraphs, tan is the most convenient to add into preamble \setlength{\parskip}{<amount>}. For \ampunt you select for example 1ex or \baselineskip ... – Zarko Mar 3 '16 at 8:47
  • Or \medskipamount – Bernard Mar 3 '16 at 9:06
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A \vphantom does not add vertical space it adds a box of zero width, this may produce some white area on a page but it is not at all like vertical space (glue) as added \vspace and related commands. It does not stretch or shrink and crucially it is treated like text not like space at the top of a page so it is not discarded at a page break.

For special one-off spacing requirements you might want to use

<blank line>
\medskip

(where \medskip is \vspace{\medskipamount})

But any such use of explicit spacing is usually a sign that the document structures being used are not designed for the content in the current document.

The spacing between paragraphs should be controlled automatically (using the primitive \parskip parameter or the latex list parameters) so there should only vary rarely need a need to add a vertical space command in a document.

For the example here you could use verse:

enter image description here

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

\begin{verse}
Dearest \emph{creature} in \emph{creation},\\
Study English pronunciation.\\
I will teach you in my verse\\
Sounds like \emph{corpse}, \emph{corps}, \emph{horse}, and \emph{worse}.\\
I will keep you, \emph{Susy}, \emph{busy},\\
Make your \emph{head} with \emph{heat} grow \emph{dizzy}.\\
\emph{Tear} in eye, your dress will \emph{tear}.\\
So shall I! Oh hear my \emph{prayer}.

\emph{Pray}, console your loving poet,\\
Make my coat look \emph{new}, dear, \emph{sew} it!\\
Just compare \emph{heart}, \emph{beard}, and \emph{heard},\\
\emph{Dies} and \emph{diet}, \emph{lord} and \emph{word},\\
\emph{Sword} and \emph{sward}, \emph{retain} and \emph{Britain}.\\
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)\\
\emph{Made} has not the sound of \emph{bade},\\
\emph{Say-said}, \emph{pay-paid}, \emph{laid}, but \emph{plaid}.

\end{verse}

\end{document}
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  • Verse is nice but I find it a bit annoying to have to introduce \\ at the end of each line. – Paul Rougieux Mar 3 '16 at 12:32
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    @PaulRougieux poetry has very stylized line endings, surely you need some markup to mark the lines, it can not just be left to the paragraph breaker. You could not have a lot less markup than \\ could you? In the web page you referenced, the line ends were marked with <br> which is twice as long as \\ – David Carlisle Mar 3 '16 at 12:47
  • @DavidCarlisle -- why would using \obeylines over a limited scope be a bad idea? (that is, provided the lines aren't too long.) – barbara beeton Mar 3 '16 at 14:09
  • @barbarabeeton you could define an obeylines like thing (I wondered about mentioning that, but you then have to worry about what it is doing at verse ends (you really want it to add a vertical skip not a blank hbox line) – David Carlisle Mar 3 '16 at 14:11

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