paragraph and section marksInsert a nonbreaking space

The para­graph mark () is used when cit­ing doc­u­ments with se­quen­tially num­bered para­graphs. The sec­tion mark (§) is used when cit­ing doc­u­ments with num­bered or let­tered sections.

WindowsMacHTML
paragraph markalt 0182option + 7¶
§section markalt 0167option + 6§

A para­graph mark or sec­tion mark should al­ways be fol­lowed by a non­break­ing space. The non­break­ing space acts like glue that keeps the mark joined with the nu­meric ref­er­ence that follows.

With­out the non­break­ing space, the mark and the ref­er­ence can end up on sep­a­rate lines or pages. This can con­fuse readers.

The seller can, under Business Law §
1782, offer a full refund to buyers. But ¶
49 of the contract offers another option.
wrong
The seller can, under Business Law
§ 1782, offer a full refund to buyers. But
¶ 49 of the contract offers another option.
right

If the para­graph or sec­tion ref­er­ence comes at the start of a sen­tence, don’t use the mark—spell out the whole word (Sec­tion 17200 ap­plied to the trans­ac­tion, but § 17500 did not). In a ref­er­ence to mul­ti­ple para­graphs or sec­tions, dou­ble the mark (¶¶ or §§).

Though these marks are used most fre­quently by le­gal and aca­d­e­mic writ­ers, there’s no rea­son oth­ers shouldn’t use them (See § 31.4.2 of the man­ual). Why not? They look cool.

by the way
  • The para­graph mark is also known as a pil­crow.

  • Oc­ca­sion­ally you see para­graph marks used within a solid block of text to de­note in­ter­nal para­graphs. This is an ar­chaic use—if you need to de­note real para­graphs (not ref­er­ences to para­graphs) then use a first-line in­dent or space be­tween para­graphs.