[texhax] Line breaks in plain TeX

zsdc zsdc at wp.pl
Sat Jun 7 12:49:29 CEST 2003

Philip TAYLOR [PC336/H-XP] wrote:

>The real solution is \hfil \break, but one
>is forced to ask /why/ one would want to force a new-line
>into a TeX document in any but the rarest circumstances.
>Almost every instance of a forced line break that I have
>seen (in raw text, rather than in macros) is a result
>of some fundamental confusion whereby the author, not
>liking a full paragraph break, seeks to interpose something
>less.  The result is usually a complete mess, since the
>reader is left competely uncertain as to what the line-
>break was meant to signify.
Of course, I was talking about pretty rare circumstances, it's not for 
normal text in paragraphs, but rather for using TeX for defining some 
strange type of lists. I knew that even for that it probably wasn't 
optimal solution, but writing a quick prototype, just to see how what 
I'm thinking about would look like, I found out, that I don't know how 
to break lines. Thanks a lot.

By the way, what does \\ mean then? Everywhere I've found any definition 
of \\, it's just defined as a new line, line break, forced linebreak, 
etc. I haven't even found any definition in TeXbook, other than the 
exercise asking why do I think literal backslash is $\backslash$ and not 
\\... Now I'm wondering where have I got this \\ idea from in the first 

Is there any plain TeX index of commands or reference manual in HTML or 
plain text, something like Sheldon Green's LaTeX reference manual 


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