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indentation

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Definition:

The blank space between a margin and the beginning of a line of text. Verb: indent.

See also:


Etymology:

From the Latin, "tooth"

Examples and Observations:

  • "The most common use of indentation is at the beginning of a paragraph, where the first line is usually indented five spaces . . .. Another use of indentation is in outlining, in which each subordinate entry is indented under its major entry.

    "A long quotation may be indented in a manuscript instead of being enclosed in quotation marks. The indentation varies, depending on what documentation style you are following. If you are not following a specific style manual, you may block indent one-half inch or ten spaces from both the right and left margins for reports and other documents."
    (Gerald J. Alred, Charles T. Brusaw, and Walter E. Oliu, The Business Writer's Handbook, 7th ed. Macmillan, 2003)


  • "Paragraph indention, by the way, arises from that habit of early printers, following the practice of scribes, which consists in leaving a blank space for the insertion of a large initial by the illuminator."
    (Eric Partridge, You Have a Point There: A Guide to Punctuation and Its Allies. Routledge, 1978)


  • "BY THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY THE INDENT WAS THE STANDARD PARAGRAPH BREAK IN WESTERN PROSE THE RISE OF PRINTING ENCOURAGED THE USE OF SPACE TO ORGANIZE TEXTS A GAP IN A PRINTED PAGE FEELS MORE DELIBERATE THAN A GAP IN A MANUSCRIPT BECAUSE IT IS MADE BY A SLUG OF LEAD RATHER THAN A FLUX IN HANDWRITING"
    (Ellen Lupton and J. Abbot Miller, Design, Writing, Research. Princeton Architectural Press, 1996)
Pronunciation: in-den-TAY-shen
Also Known As: indention
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