[OS X TeX] Missing \begin{document} error

Don Green Dragon fergdc at Shaw.ca
Sat Oct 16 22:11:46 CEST 2010

Hello to all,

I suppose that the following is trivial to the knowing ones, but to newbies, like me, it may be of interest.

For some time now (at least one week), when I typeset a document that has gone through many changes --- still experimenting a lot in the prelude --- I first get the following message (in the console) and reply:
./Mechanics.tex:10: LaTeX Error: Missing \begin{document}.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.
l.10 .
? h
You're in trouble here.  Try typing  <return>  to proceed.
If that doesn't work, type  X <return>  to quit.

You can be sure that the line


was not missing, and the interaction above has not always been the case. I could not recall what change was made that brought out the complaint above. If I just hit <return>, then typesetting completes satisfactorily.

Well ..... I finally took the hint and looked at line 10. That line consisted of exactly one character, the period character, and that blunder led to the interchange above. Yes, on removing the period, the typeset proceeds without any complaint about "Missing \begin{document}".

I can vividly 'see' all the eyes rolling about, but fortunately cannot hear all the mutterings that accompany the disbelief and disgust!

Don Green Dragon
fergdc at Shaw.ca

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