C# Character Literal

This C# article examines character literals, which use single-quotes. It demonstrates escape sequences.

Character literal. A character literal is a value.

It is usually assigned to a variable of type char. Character literals in the C# language are enclosed in single-quote characters. Some values must be escaped with backslash characters.

 

 

Example. First we see a program that demonstrates the usage of character literals in the C# language. Char variables, such as those at the class level or the local variable level, are assigned to the character literal values.

 

Tip: The character literals are immutable and cannot be changed, but the variables that store those values simply denote storage locations.

Next: The const char in the program uses value semantics and cannot be reassigned. It is a named literal.

ConstString Literal

C# program that uses character literals

using System;

class Program
{
    static char _literal5 = 'e'; // Static character literal.
    const char _literal6 = '#'; // Constant character literal.

    static void Main()
    {
	//
	// Shows some example character literals.
	// ... Also shows a local constant character literal.
	// ... Then prints them.
	//
	char literal1 = 'A';
	char literal2 = 'b';
	char literal3 = '\\';
	const char literal4 = '_';

	Console.WriteLine(literal1);
	Console.WriteLine(literal2);
	Console.WriteLine(literal3);
	Console.WriteLine(literal4);
	Console.WriteLine(_literal5);
	Console.WriteLine(_literal6);
    }
}

Output

A
b
\
_
e
#

This program uses character literals. It prints the literal values to the screen with Console.WriteLine. The character literals are enclosed in single-quote marks, and backslash character is itself escaped with a backslash.

Console.WriteLine

Tip: Character literals are escaped with the "\" character, and this is how you can represent the newline "\n".

Environment.NewLine

So: The program shows how variables, such as char variables, relate to values such as the literals themselves and const char value names.

 

Discussion. A variable, such as a char, denotes a storage location. This can be reassigned to different values. A character literal, such as "A", denotes a value, and this can never be changed in memory. Character literals denote values.

 

Further: A const char can only be used as a value, not a variable. It is a way of referring to a character literal by a name.

 

Summary. Character literals represent character values. They are a form of value representation, not a variable type. They cannot be changed during runtime, but the variables that store them can.

 

Also: We escaped the newline as "\n". Character literals are similar to constant two-byte integers in the language.