[texhax] Strange formatting.

Barbara Beeton bnb at ams.org
Tue Apr 13 23:50:40 CEST 2010


    Thanks for the responses, and I'll have to think about them.  I fail think
    that the lack of any descenders in the first line is the real cause of the
    problem.  Having to replace "Dear" with "Deary" is contrary with what I
    regard as the basic philosopy of LaTex.  On the other hand, having to add a
    blank line before the \normalsize (which worked very nicely, thank you)
    smacks a little of a magic wand, At least at the moment I cannot understand
    the explanation, I'll have to mull on that one.

    Given my limited experience with LaTex (three or four years), I hardly dare
    to imply that this must be a bug.  However, given the documentation I have
    read, I am inclined to regard anything after the \Huge command as being
    formatted accordingly, regardless of descenders. Once you turn on that
    effect it remains in power, until some other command changes that attribute
    for the formatting of the text.  The fact that I would have to to do
    something  (completely illogical in my eyes) at the very END of that
    particular section to get everything right in the BEGINNING of that section,
    is in my eyes completely illogical.  And very confusing for users.  I have
    to add that my experience with programming goes back at least forty years.
    I have generated many bugs of many different kinds.

    Sorry, I regard this as strange behavior of the LaTex system.  I am
    inclined to think this is a bug.

no, not a bug, but a knuth design
decision.  it's not specific to latex.

the explanation is buried in chapter 14
of the texbook, "how tex breaks paragraphs
into lines".  on p.94, bottom, we are told
that "before the lines have been broken,
a paragraph inside of tex is actually a
horizontal list, ..."  that doesn't explain
directly why the baselines are reset when
the type size changes in the middle of a
paragraph, but it does inform us that the
paragraph isn't actually set line by line
(as done by most word processing programs)
but all at once, when tex detects the end
of the paragraph.

sorry, i haven't time to dig up a reference
with an example of size changes, but i'm
pretty sure there's one there somewhere.
						-- bb

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