The correct usage of the pilcrow sign "¶" (as I understand) is to begin a paragraph, or to indicate a paragraph on a page that is not laid out with ordinary paragraph line-breaks.

I'm writing a technical report and it happens that a page break coincides with a new paragraph, opening with a word that cannot be capitalized. The second page unfortunately appears to continue the preceding paragraph.

If I put a pilcrow sign in the text at the top left of the page, will readers understand that a new paragraph is beginning or will they just be confused?

Bonus question: Would it be helpful to put the sign in front of any uncapitalized paragraph following a table, diagram, or such?

Edit: This question is about comprehensibility, not about aesthetics. I'm asking whether the punctuation is so obscure that it might do more harm than good. (There's a close vote.)

  • Who is the audience? I know you specified "a technical report", but that covers a lot of ground. – JEL Sep 5 '15 at 5:17
  • @JEL More specifically, it will be published in open conference proceedings. The audience proper is the ISO standardization committee on a computer programming language. Rather literate crowd, but literacy in technical jargon is often completely independent of that in, ah, ordinary literature. – Potatoswatter Sep 5 '15 at 7:04
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    What I've seen used in extreme cases, that is, where the wording cannot be changed and the style is blank line paragraphing rather than indented, is "[New paragraph]" (no quotes). The pilcrow would work only for a very limited subset of technical audiences, otherwise it's just going to confuse too many people, or be taken for a typographical glitch. – JEL Sep 5 '15 at 7:07
  • @JEL OK, thanks. Isn't that an answer? (And, where do you recall seeing that?) – Potatoswatter Sep 5 '15 at 7:09
  • I don't know. The question is a little out of line for an English Language and Usage forum...maybe a typography forum? a semiotics forum? Whatever--I'm here to find out stuff, and the questions present challenges I wouldn't and couldn't come up with for myself on my own. Where did I see that? I don't recall; I do recall seeing it more than once, but I've worked as an editor, writer, and general language maven for more than 35 years, and the particular instances of such an obscure bit of formatting don't stick in my mind. – JEL Sep 5 '15 at 7:13

The consensus seems to be that opening a paragraph with "¶" is archaic, or at best limited to niches like books of statutes (laws).

It's better to find some alternative — anything.

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