Paragraph (text)

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In text design , a paragraph , Latin passus , describes a section of a continuous text consisting of one or more sentences . In a paragraph, the written text usually has its own context (hence also called a section of meaning ) or its own small topic. When this thought has been carried out, a new paragraph follows. It is used in typography as a line break , i.e. H. New start in a new line, shown.

Optical highlighting


In traditional German (generally European) typesetting, each paragraph is indented . An indentation is the space at the beginning of the first line of a paragraph. It makes it easier for the eye to see the paragraph without interrupting the reading flow, as is the case with blank lines [receipt?] .

The size of the indentation depends on the font size and sentence width; In the Werksatz, two quarters used to be the largest permissible indentation. In the taste of the times, the measure changed from two quarters to half quarters ; a square is currently common. In American typography , this is usually done in exactly the same way - with three to five spaces.

In modern book production, only paragraphs following paragraphs are usually indented. The first paragraph after a heading, after a blank line or other insertions - such as longer quotations, figures, tables, lists and the like - starts bluntly (i.e. without indentation). Historically, this was rarely used in Germany, but was often used in the Anglo-American region.

Indentation is not common in American business stationery, the paragraphs are only highlighted by blank lines. This goes back to the use of mechanical typewriters to create such documents.

Last line

The last line of a paragraph, the exit, should "cover" the indentation, ie always "run" further than the following indentation. In addition, the exit of a paragraph followed by another paragraph should be significantly shorter than the width of the type area .

If the last line takes up almost the entire available width, the line break is changed (for example by changing the word breaker at the end of the line) and thus "stretched". The text to be accommodated then also causes the last line to "overflow" and a very short last line is created. These shortened last lines in connection with the indentation at the beginning clearly emphasize the paragraph separation from the text image, so that no blank lines are required.

With a so-called "hanging indent", the first line of a paragraph is set to the full width, while all other lines are indented.

empty line

In American English there is usually (in addition to the indentation) a further separation of the paragraphs with a blank line. American teaching literature, on the other hand, always prefers the “European” style, i.e. indentation and no blank line.

Through implementation in the format schemes of the first web browser and Microsoft Word , the empty line had meanwhile emerged as a kind of world standard in word processing, while with improved control, for example through CSS and increasing awareness of text design, traditional highlighting only through indentation used more.

In good text design, the so-called leading should always be whole lines, i.e. real empty lines. It is technically possible to define this space as half a line or any other measure. The lines of text, however, optically form a regular rhythm that would be disturbed by half a line.

A line end without a following blank line and without a following indentation does not constitute a paragraph.

Word processing

In word processing programs and some text editors, the Enter key is used to change paragraphs. In some other programs, such as MediaWiki , with which Wikipedia is operated, a paragraph break is generated by a blank line .

Word processing programs often have the ability to display control characters . Then the paragraph mark is usually used to represent the end of a paragraph regardless of the layout . The width of the lead can be there depending on the type of paragraph i. d. R. define.

See also

  • Paragraph , serves to subdivide texts (mostly in the case of laws) - is usually separated from the rest of the text by a separate paragraph
  • Whore child and shoemaker boy , terms from typography in paragraph design


Web links

Wiktionary: Paragraph  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations