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A single character may be written as a single quote immediately followed by that character. The same escapes apply to characters as to strings. So if you want to write the character backslash, you must write '\\ where the first \ escapes the second \. As you can see, the quote is an acute accent, not a grave accent. A newline immediately following an acute accent is taken as a literal character and does not count as the end of a statement. The value of a character constant in a numeric expression is the machine's byte-wide code for that character. as assumes your character code is ASCII: 'A means 65, 'B means 66, and so on.