Character Literals

Rules

  • Must be surrounded by single quotes (')
  • May include any single printable character (e.g. 'a')
  • May include any single non-printable character using escape sequences, also called diagraphs (e.g. '\0' for NUL)

Examples of Valid Character Literals

'a' 'T' '\n' '5' '@' ' ' (space)

Examples of Invalid Character Literals

'me' '23' '''

Because the single quote (') is used to delimit character literals, the single quote cannot by itself be a character literal. It must be specified using an escape sequence: '\''

Although escape sequences look like two characters, the backslash (\) is treated specially in character and string literals. It signals that the character that follows is special. It either represents a non-printable character, as in the case of '\0' for NUL, or a character that cannot be used on its own in a character literal, such as the single quote or backslash themselves, which are represented as '\'' and '\\' respectively.

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