# [texhax] boldfacing words from a list

Philip TAYLOR P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Fri Sep 29 00:56:23 CEST 2006


Christopher W. Ryan wrote:

> My hope was to be able to bold them somewhat automatically, only having
> to type any markup commands once.

But in the real world, life isn't that simple : what might be
a vocabulary word in one context may be a normal part of
speech in another, so explicit tagging of vocabulary words
is an essential part of document markup ...

> Thus, typing \vocabulary{profits} every time that word appears in the
> source is no easier than typing \textbf{profits} every time it appears.
>  In fact, the former is more keystrokes.

But far better practice : by tagging it as \vocabulary, you
are deferring any decision on its rendering; by tagging it
as \textbf, you are (intentionally or otherwise) losing
the option to render vocabulary words as you will.  Suppose
that the school changes its policy, and requires all
vocabularly words to be italicised -- if you tag them
as \vocabulary, you can re-define \vocabulary once and
once only, and all vocabulary words will appear correctly.
If, on the other hand, you tag them using \textbf, then
you can't even use global search-and-replace to substitute
\textit, since you may well have used \textbf for some
purpose /other/ than tagging vocabulary words.  There
really is no justification (and no benefit) whatsoever
in using form-oriented markup such as \textbf anywhere
in a document : the document should be marked up using
abstract terms of your own choosing, and these should
be mapped to your preferred rendering in the document
preamble.

> Typing it herself remains one of my pet peeves with our school district:
>  students are required to turn in typed assignments in as early as
> elementary school, but they don't get typing class until high school.  I
> still don't have a satisfactory explanation from the administrators.

Weird : maybe they think that the ability to touch-type
is inate, but becomes lost as one enters one's teens !

** P.