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### 12.6 Character Constants

A character constant is written with single quotes, as in `'c'`. In the simplest case, c is a single ASCII character that the constant should represent. The constant has type `int`, and its value is the character code of that character. For instance, `'a'` represents the character code for the letter ‘a’: 97, that is.

To put the ‘'’ character (single quote) in the character constant, quote it with a backslash (‘\’). This character constant looks like `'\''`. This sort of sequence, starting with ‘\’, is called an escape sequence—the backslash character here functions as a kind of escape character.

To put the ‘\’ character (backslash) in the character constant, quote it likewise with ‘\’ (another backslash). This character constant looks like `'\\'`.

Here are all the escape sequences that represent specific characters in a character constant. The numeric values shown are the corresponding ASCII character codes, as decimal numbers.

```'\a' ⇒ 7       /* alarm, CTRL-g */
'\b' ⇒ 8       /* backspace, BS, CTRL-h */
'\t' ⇒ 9       /* tab, TAB, CTRL-i */
'\n' ⇒ 10      /* newline, CTRL-j */
'\v' ⇒ 11      /* vertical tab, CTRL-k */
'\f' ⇒ 12      /* formfeed, CTRL-l */
'\r' ⇒ 13      /* carriage return, RET, CTRL-m */
'\e' ⇒ 27      /* escape character, ESC, CTRL-[ */
'\\' ⇒ 92      /* backslash character, \ */
'\'' ⇒ 39      /* singlequote character, ' */
'\"' ⇒ 34      /* doublequote character, " */
'\?' ⇒ 63      /* question mark, ? */
```

\e’ is a GNU C extension; to stick to standard C, write ‘\33’.

You can also write octal and hex character codes as ‘\octalcode’ or ‘\xhexcode’. Decimal is not an option here, so octal codes do not need to start with ‘0’.

The character constant’s value has type `int`. However, the character code is treated initially as a `char` value, which is then converted to `int`. If the character code is greater than 127 (`0177` in octal), the resulting `int` may be negative on a platform where the type `char` is 8 bits long and signed.

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