Common LaTeX Mistakes by Newbies

Writing in LaTeX needs some experience as there are a few things not obvious to newbies. In this post, I list some common mistakes that the newbies often make.

1. Use two back quotes `󠀠` and two apostrophes '' to start and end quoting.

Standard quotation marks " won’t be rendered correctly.

1``Hello, World!''               % correct
2"Hello, World!"                 % wrong

2. Use tilde ~ to avoid a line break between words.

1(cf.~Vaswani et al.~\cite{vaswani_attention_2017}) % correct
2(cf. Vaswani et al. \cite{vaswani_attention_2017}) % wrong

3. Write .\ if the dot is not used as a period.

Omitting the backslash leads to a larger space between the period and the next word.

1approx.\ 10 hours               % correct
2approx. 10 hours                % wrong

4. In the math environment, use the \text{} command for words that are not variables or indices.

For example, if “fc” stands for a fully-connected layer in a neural network, write $f_{\text{fc}}$. Just writing $f_{fc}$ results in ugly rendering of “fc”.

1$f_{\text{fc}}$                 % correct
2$f_{fc}$                        % wrong

5. This is not LaTeX-specific, but a common mistake by students: Stick either to US English or UK English. Do not mix up.

1e.g., visualize                 % correct (US English)
2e.g. visualise                  % correct (UK English)
3e.g., visualise                 % wrong
4e.g. visualize                  % wrong