7

I wanted to make

\newcommand{\a}{\alpha}

but apparently \a is already defined. However, I couldn't figure out what it does through experimentation.

2 Answers 2

18

\a is a LaTeX core instruction for generating a letter with a diacritical mark.

\a{accent}{letter}

The command is intended for the case when the normal accent commands of the form \accent{letter} or \Accent{letter} are not available locally for some reason.

Accents can be, for example:

"'`^=.~Hruv

Example

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

\a"a \a'b \^c \a=d \a.e \a~f \a{H}g \a{r}h \a{u}i \a{v}j

\end{document}

Result

enter image description here

1
  • Thank you very much!
    – user56202
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 17:33
12

\a' produces the same accent as \' but is usable in tabbing and other places where \' has other meanings. It is usable with all the accent commands.

Its actual definition is

\def\@tabacckludge#1{\expandafter\@changed@cmd
                                 \csname\string#1\endcsname\relax}
\let\a=\@tabacckludge
1
  • Thank you very much!
    – user56202
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 17:34

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