Coming from an HTML background using <p> to mark paragraphs I consequently use \par to mark paragraphs instead of using two consecutive blank lines. This feels more semantic (of course I realize this argument is bogus) and after a few years of LaTeX this habit is hard to lose. It also feels handier in (for instance) enumeration environments, the line with \item doesn't get its own \par while the other paragraphs do, using whitespace between consecutive \item's, but as said before, this is just a feeling.

I was wondering whether there are other people doing this or if there are any reasons to not do it this way? The only argument I can come up with could be readability (more whitespace is easier for the eyes) but if there are others I might have to get rid of this tic.


2 Answers 2


Your co-authors will be very surprised when they see your source code, and very likely the first thing they will do is to replace each \par with a blank line.

There are some situations (like macros, lists, and situations such as {\centering Foo\par} or {\small Foo\par}) in which \par might be a good idea, but most of the time it is both hard-to-read and non-standard.

  • 2
    Just to elaborate on this answer - using \par is very hard to read because it is visually difficult to identify paragraph breaks. Blank lines are much more natural to the human reader of the source.
    – rogerl
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 14:45
  • 2
    When using a highlighting editor that difficulty is greatly diminished though. But I conclude my habit is uncommon and unnecessary, it's time to throw it away :).
    – Pieter
    Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 14:49
  • There is one place \par can work well: when you are trying to visually keep blocks of text together in your input file. In these cases putting the \par on a line by itself, with some whitespace before it, retains the best of both worlds. Commented Oct 2, 2010 at 16:38

Runaway macros: if you have something like

I have something to say\footnote{Although I forget to end this footnote
Oh, and another thing.

then the complaint about the runaway argument will take much longer to be generated. All macros are, in effect \long.

  • This doesn't look right. \par tokens are \par tokens.
    – user202729
    Commented Sep 24, 2022 at 8:39

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