I'm trying to make symbols italic, both in front and inside a bracket. So I wrote *foo*[*bar* + 1]. The system renders this as “foo[bar + 1]”, which at the time of this writing means “foo[*bar* + 1]” (I hope this latter rendering will remain unchanged over time).

I tried some alternatives. The input

1. *foo*[*bar* + 1]
2. foo[*bar* + 1]
3. *foo[*bar* + 1]
4. *foo*(*bar* + 1)
5. *foo*{*bar* + 1}
6. *foo*<*bar* + 1>
7. *foo*[<em>bar</em> + 1]

renders like this:

  1. foo[bar + 1]
  2. foo[bar + 1]
  3. *foo[bar + 1]
  4. foo(bar + 1)
  5. foo{bar + 1}
  6. foo<bar + 1>
  7. foo[bar + 1]

So either use of italics, immediately before or immediately inside the bracket, works well enough. It's only when they both coincide that things break down. Could be due to regular expression matching, that the [ already matched at the end of one italic span, and therefore won't match at the beginning of the next. round parentheses are affected as well, as are curly braces. Angled braces, however, appear not to suffer from this. Perhaps the regular expression is operating on the &lt; version of the text?

Any chance of fixing this inconsistency?

  • Why should this be reopened? Nov 16, 2012 at 21:15
  • @MartijnPieters This is a completely separate issue.
    – Tim Stone
    Nov 16, 2012 at 21:17
  • @TimStone: Right, I'd have loved an explicit comment to that effect, for us in the Reopen-votes queue. :-) Nov 16, 2012 at 21:20
  • 1
    Oh, so my question was closed as duplicate and then reopened again, while I wasn't looking? I seem to have a knack for asking such questions. I assume that this post was the presumed duplicate, as it appears here as linked but I see no real link to it.
    – MvG
    Nov 16, 2012 at 21:40
  • @MvG: That's correct. Nov 17, 2012 at 8:42

2 Answers 2


If my assumption about a regular expression matching the bracket at the end of the first range is correct, then perhaps this can be fixed by turning the character past the closing * from part of the matched text into a positive look-ahead assertion.


This had little to do with parentheses per se; rather it was a form of this issue, where a single character wasn't enough between to instances of italics. That was fixed, so after the next build it will all render as expected.

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