[OS X TeX] bibtex syntax defintion

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Wed Aug 17 18:22:27 EDT 2005

Le 17 août 05 à 22:17, Michael McCracken a écrit :

> I did have some troubles getting the resulting tex file to typeset  
> with my current version of TeX, possibly because it is 20 years  
> old, so perhaps someone with more time or experience could help  
> solve that.

The problem looks odd. bibtex.tex calls pdfwebmac.tex (with pdfTeX)  
or ordwebmac.tex (otherwise), which define both several control  
sequences starting with \E:

\def\E{\cdot10^} % exponent in floating point constant
\def\ET{ and~} % conjunction between two section numbers
\def\ETs{, and~} % conjunction between the last two of several  
section numbers

Then, bibtex.tex uses \ETs:

280, 281, 284, 293, 294, 295, 310, 311, 313, 321, 356, 368, 373\ETs456.

But it seems with current TeX this control sequence can't be read:  
TeX stops after reading \E, replaces \E by its definition \cdot^10,  
and, realizing it's not in math mode, returns an error:

! Missing $ inserted.
<inserted text>
<to be read again>
<argument> ... 310, 311, 313, 321, 356, 368, 373\E
\note ...ndent 2em\baselineskip 10pt\eightrm #1~#2
                                                   .\par }
l.179 ...310, 311, 313, 321, 356, 368, 373\ETs456.

What can have changed in modern TeX, that makes \ETs an invalid  
control sequence?

Bruno Voisin

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