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Which is the correct way of separating two paragraphs? Should there be a space between them?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam sit amet sapien placerat, sollicitudin diam id, auctor leo. Curabitur interdum justo nec mattis sollicitudin. Proin eu tincidunt nulla, id auctor sapien. Integer velit eros, ultricies ac bibendum quis, ullamcorper eu odio. Ut at ultrices turpis.
Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Cras suscipit orci ac enim feugiat, non faucibus ante commodo.
Nullam posuere venenatis nibh sed malesuada. Fusce dictum ligula quam, at auctor magna tincidunt nec. Maecenas at pulvinar lectus. Vestibulum augue ligula, placerat eget orci dictum, blandit pharetra lectus. Cras molestie efficitur ligula, ut porta ex accumsan nec.

or

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam sit amet sapien placerat, sollicitudin diam id, auctor leo. Curabitur interdum justo nec mattis sollicitudin. Proin eu tincidunt nulla, id auctor sapien. Integer velit eros, ultricies ac bibendum quis, ullamcorper eu odio. Ut at ultrices turpis.

Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Cras suscipit orci ac enim feugiat, non faucibus ante commodo. Nullam posuere venenatis nibh sed malesuada. Fusce dictum ligula quam, at auctor magna tincidunt nec. Maecenas at pulvinar lectus. Vestibulum augue ligula, placerat eget orci dictum, blandit pharetra lectus. Cras molestie efficitur ligula, ut porta ex accumsan nec.

Is it ever acceptable to use a single space between paragraphs?

  • I don't know why you added the extra paragraph into the first example and left it out of the second. There are now three paragraphs in the first (I suppose it may look different on mobile, which probably gives you your answer). – Andrew Leach Nov 8 '17 at 9:05
  • It depends on the publisher's guidelines. – Hot Licks Nov 8 '17 at 12:49
  • Welcome to EL&U. This is not a question about language, but about formatting, and as Hot Licks notes, what is appropriate is dependent ultimately on your locale, your medium (e.g. book? newspaper? diary? warning label?) and your messenger. – choster Nov 8 '17 at 15:56
  • Many publishers include more space between paragraphs than between lines within a paragraph. But I imagine that it's fairly unusual for a publisher to choose a full line space as the exact amount of extra space to insert between paragraphs. Microsoft Word (for example) lets you specify how much space to include, either as a fraction of an inch (or centimeter) or as a fraction of a line, after each paragraph. In Word, you can adjust that amount for all paragraphs in the document by entering a value (such as '0.6 line') in the field under Format > Paragraph > Spacing After. – Sven Yargs Nov 16 '17 at 21:03
  • I agree that questions exclusively about typesetting (as opposed to, say, typeface formatting, which may implicate word meaning) are not on topic at this site. Similarly, the question, "Why do so many books start with a blank page?" would be off topic, but (in my opinion) the question "When did people first underline or italicize words for ironic emphasis?" would be on topic. – Sven Yargs Nov 16 '17 at 21:13
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There are two standard ways for paragraphing - either leave a line between paragraphs or indent the first line of each paragraph.

The second example above is one of the accepted ways (leaving a line between paragraphs).

The first example above should have the first line indented.

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  • Would it be still correct to indent the first lines along with the lines between paragraphs ? – Red fx Nov 8 '17 at 9:13
  • I've seen it done but it looks like overkill and is not standard. – user261030 Nov 8 '17 at 9:27
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Robert Bringhurst, in his seminal work The Elements of Typographic Style, has this to say:

  • Set opening paragraphs flush left.
  • In continuous text, mark all paragraphs after the first with an indent of at least one em.
  • Ornaments can be placed in the paragraph indents, but few texts benefit from them.
  • Paragraphs can also be marked by drop lines, but they grow tiresome in long texts. ¶ Pilcrows, boxes and bullets can be used in continuous text. Both of these methods can cause extra labour and expense to arise with emendations and corrections.
  • Outdented paragraphs and indented paragraphs are the two most obvious possibilities that remain. And outdented paragraphs bring with them other possibilities, such as the use of enlarged marginal letters.

All these variants, and others, have their uses, but the plainest, most unmistakable yet unobtrusive way of marking paragraphs is the simple indent: a white square.

Block paragraphs open flush left and separated vertically from their neighbours by extra lead, usually a white line. Block paragraphs are common in business letters and memos, and because they suggest precision, crispness and speed, they can be useful in short documents of other kinds. In longer sequences, they may seem soulless and uninviting.

Thus it is purely a question of style. In an ornamental text, you could eschew normal paragraph breaks altogether and use a symbol; or in a short passage you might use a blank line (which might be less than the line height — difficult to demonstrate here); or you might close up the text and indent the first line of each paragraph. Each style has its merits.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam sit amet sapien placerat, sollicitudin diam id, auctor leo. Curabitur interdum justo nec mattis sollicitudin. Proin eu tincidunt nulla, id auctor sapien. Integer velit eros, ultricies ac bibendum quis, ullamcorper eu odio. Ut at ultrices turpis. ¶ Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Cras suscipit orci ac enim feugiat, non faucibus ante commodo. ¶ Nullam posuere venenatis nibh sed malesuada. Fusce dictum ligula quam, at auctor magna tincidunt nec. Maecenas at pulvinar lectus. Vestibulum augue ligula, placerat eget orci dictum, blandit pharetra lectus. Cras molestie efficitur ligula, ut porta ex accumsan nec.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam sit amet sapien placerat, sollicitudin diam id, auctor leo. Curabitur interdum justo nec mattis sollicitudin. Proin eu tincidunt nulla, id auctor sapien. Integer velit eros, ultricies ac bibendum quis, ullamcorper eu odio. Ut at ultrices turpis.

Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Cras suscipit orci ac enim feugiat, non faucibus ante commodo.

Nullam posuere venenatis nibh sed malesuada. Fusce dictum ligula quam, at auctor magna tincidunt nec. Maecenas at pulvinar lectus. Vestibulum augue ligula, placerat eget orci dictum, blandit pharetra lectus. Cras molestie efficitur ligula, ut porta ex accumsan nec.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam sit amet sapien placerat, sollicitudin diam id, auctor leo. Curabitur interdum justo nec mattis sollicitudin. Proin eu tincidunt nulla, id auctor sapien. Integer velit eros, ultricies ac bibendum quis, ullamcorper eu odio. Ut at ultrices turpis.
    Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Cras suscipit orci ac enim feugiat, non faucibus ante commodo.
    Nullam posuere venenatis nibh sed malesuada. Fusce dictum ligula quam, at auctor magna tincidunt nec. Maecenas at pulvinar lectus. Vestibulum augue ligula, placerat eget orci dictum, blandit pharetra lectus. Cras molestie efficitur ligula, ut porta ex accumsan nec.

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