1

When writing a book in LaTeX, I would like to delimit new paragraphs with indentation, but sometimes I would like to separate two paragraphs with an empty line, to indicate a bigger break in the text (e.g., longer period of time has passed, change of location, etc.)

All the solutions I have found so far rely on low-level commands like \vspace and \noindent. Is there something more "correct"?

Here's what it would look like:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque
non suscipit lacus. Ut fringilla, lectus fermentum sollicitudin
interdum, justo enim vulputate ante, id rhoncus nisi libero eget
eros. Sed porttitor condimentum leo sed malesuada.
    Vivamus consectetur sagittis enim. Sed hendrerit, eros ac
condimentum sodales, lectus libero vehicula lorem, quis feugiat
ipsum dui non velit. In a imperdiet nunc. Nunc orci justo,
placerat eget euismod et, volutpat vitae ipsum. Sed congue ipsum
sit amet accumsan interdum. Integer varius tellus vel convallis
suscipit. Mauris nec sapien arcu. Nam ultrices ex ultrices eros
porttitor, eu dapibus elit accumsan. Fusce elementum rhoncus
finibus.

Donec mauris ante, commodo at erat vel, bibendum lacinia nisl.
Curabitur sit amet pharetra lectus, et cursus magna. Nam id
hendrerit metus. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis
parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec facilisis
vestibulum ante sit amet venenatis.
    Phasellus sed risus enim. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante
ipsum primis in faucibus. Vivamus turpis metus, convallis ac risus ac,
aliquet consectetur velit. Pellentesque gravida turpis ipsum, eu
vestibulum lorem imperdiet ac. Nullam luctus elit in facilisis
ultricies. Sed eleifend eros in iaculis dapibus. Curabitur hendrerit
orci sit amet nulla gravida accumsan.
5
  • 1
    You can try the quoting package to define a special environment which does what you want, for instance. This environment is easily customised. Other solution: a simple own command which adds a \vskipsome length}\noindent. In classicel typography, it is quite common to insert a centred set of three asterisks between such paragraphs. – Bernard Feb 16 '20 at 17:43
  • The simple ways seems to be use \noindent and \vsapce. It is valid, correct commands. However, you can define new environment for those paragraphs, where both commands are included in its definition. – Zarko Feb 16 '20 at 17:45
  • 1
    the memoir class has \plainbreak and \fancybreak commands. – Ulrike Fischer Feb 16 '20 at 19:57
  • What's the distinction between “spaced-nonindented” paragraph and “nonspaced-indented”? I can't see how this can be useful to the reader, particularly if a page starts with a nonindented paragraph. – egreg Feb 16 '20 at 21:26
  • @UlrikeFischer Thank you for your comment which I have used in my answer. – Peter Wilson Feb 17 '20 at 19:28
4

I would suggest defining your own commands to handle this situation. In particular, it seems like a single macro would suffice that

  • inserts a paragraph break
  • adds additional space
  • removes the indent from the subsequent paragraph

A macro like

enter image description here

\newcommand{\startpar}{\par\addvspace{\baselineskip}\noindent\ignorespaces}

would do this.

\documentclass{article}

\newcommand{\startpar}{\par\addvspace{\baselineskip}\noindent\ignorespaces}

\begin{document}

\startpar
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Quisque
non suscipit lacus. Ut fringilla, lectus fermentum sollicitudin
interdum, justo enim vulputate ante, id rhoncus nisi libero eget
eros. Sed porttitor condimentum leo sed malesuada.

    Vivamus consectetur sagittis enim. Sed hendrerit, eros ac
condimentum sodales, lectus libero vehicula lorem, quis feugiat
ipsum dui non velit. In a imperdiet nunc. Nunc orci justo,
placerat eget euismod et, volutpat vitae ipsum. Sed congue ipsum
sit amet accumsan interdum. Integer varius tellus vel convallis
suscipit. Mauris nec sapien arcu. Nam ultrices ex ultrices eros
porttitor, eu dapibus elit accumsan. Fusce elementum rhoncus
finibus.

\startpar
Donec mauris ante, commodo at erat vel, bibendum lacinia nisl.
Curabitur sit amet pharetra lectus, et cursus magna. Nam id
hendrerit metus. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis
parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec facilisis
vestibulum ante sit amet venenatis.

    Phasellus sed risus enim. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante
ipsum primis in faucibus. Vivamus turpis metus, convallis ac risus ac,
aliquet consectetur velit. Pellentesque gravida turpis ipsum, eu
vestibulum lorem imperdiet ac. Nullam luctus elit in facilisis
ultricies. Sed eleifend eros in iaculis dapibus. Curabitur hendrerit
orci sit amet nulla gravida accumsan.

\end{document}

If you later change your mind, thinking that you need a bigger gap between paragraphs, you can change the single macro and everything else will follow. Similarly, if you feel the need to have all paragraphs indented, then you can remove \noindent. It seems pretty flexible.

1

If you are writing a book then maybe you are using the memoir class --- a superset of the book, report and article classes. As Ulrike Fischer said it provides the \plainbreak macro for inserting a number of blank lines between adjacent paragraphs and also a \fancybreak macro that inserts some decorative text, such as a string of fleurons, between paragraphs. There are other macros in the same vein, such as \plainfancybreak which inserts a plainbreak in the middle of a page but a \fancybreak at the top/bottom of a page.

The difficulty with inserting blank lines between paragraphs is what happens when there is a page break between the paragraphs. How is the reader to know that these aren't two normally separated paragraphs (the same problem when the first line of a paragraph is not indented and relying on extra space separating paragraphs)?

The memoir \...break macros do their best to deal with page breaks between paragraphs.

\documentclass{memoir}
\begin{document}
A paragraph.

Second paragraph.

\plainbreak{3} % three empty lines
Third paragraph % first line not indented
\end{document}

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