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This question already has an answer here:

Regarding tiny nonbreaking spaces, is there a difference between using a ~ (tilde) and using \, (backslash comma)? If so, what is the difference, in terms of length, properties, situations where you would use one over the other, etc.?

marked as duplicate by TeXnician, egreg spacing Sep 12 '17 at 10:17

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The difference between a normal unbreakable space and a thin unbreakable space: \, is 1/6em, while ~ is, if I'm not mistaken, what TeX denotes \fontdimen2, the interword space.

  • I see. So the length of \, is fixed, but that of ~ is not. In that case, could ~ be shorter than \, in certain instances? – Nicholas Wong Sep 12 '17 at 10:21
  • no, it can only be the interword space as lowest distance – user2478 Sep 12 '17 at 10:30
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    The length of \, is fixed for a given font. – Bernard Sep 12 '17 at 10:33
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5~kg will not be broken across lines but can be stretched, if needed by TeX: 5 kg. 5\,kg cannot be stretched.

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