A Question About Formatting

Am I the only one who finds a combination of paragraph indentation and white space (skipped line between paragraphs) a little off-putting?


Personally, I would stick to one, or the other, but not combine the two. My preference would be for white space in an ebook and paragraph indentation in a print book. However, if I am the only one with an aversion to the combination then it matters not a jot!


  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    You're correct. It should be one or the other.


    I would use space between paragraphs for non-fiction with multiple lists, quotes, images, subheadings and so on.


    For fiction, indents for both ebook and print book.

     A citizen of the world.

  • I don't understand combining the two. It's confusing.

    The novel I'm working on now (which actually might be a novella, haven't decided) I use spaces between paragraphs and character dialogue. It's a fantasy book, but the style of writing I'm using seems called to be spaces between paragraphs.

    But a combination? I've never seen that done before and I'm with you, pick one or the other.
  • Actually, I think I misread the above. I've been using a combination of indentation and white spaces. So that is off-putting using them together? I guess I'll reformat and get rid of one of the two.
  • potetjppotetjp Professor

    I don't like texts with two hard returns and no indentation.

    A hard return and an indentation are enough to mark a paragraph.

    In my didactic books, I number the sections, and separate them by two hard returns. If there are paragraphs in a given section, I use one hard return and an indentation to separate them.

    Below: an excerpt from Numbers and Units in Old Tagalog.



    sections and paragraphs.jpg

  • I will have to put my vote with the others. The only point of indentation/spacing is to distinguish between paragraphs. So only one or the other need be used. An argument against using the space---especially in fiction---is that it creates an interruption in the flow of reading.


    Advantage can be taken of this effect in writing fiction when there is a need to indicate a break in theme, location or time. In such a case, the first line of the new paragraph is usually not indented. 

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