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2.4.4.5 String literals

Visual Studio .NET 2003

C# supports two forms of string literals: regular string literals and verbatim string literals.

A regular string literal consists of zero or more characters enclosed in double quotes, as in "hello", and may include both simple escape sequences (such as \t for the tab character) and hexadecimal and Unicode escape sequences.

A verbatim string literal consists of an @ character followed by a double-quote character, zero or more characters, and a closing double-quote character. A simple example is @"hello". In a verbatim string literal, the characters between the delimiters are interpreted verbatim, the only exception being a quote-escape-sequence. In particular, simple escape sequences and hexadecimal and Unicode escape sequences are not processed in verbatim string literals. A verbatim string literal may span multiple lines.

string-literal:
regular-string-literal
verbatim-string-literal
regular-string-literal:
"   regular-string-literal-charactersopt   "
regular-string-literal-characters:
regular-string-literal-character
regular-string-literal-characters   regular-string-literal-character
regular-string-literal-character:
single-regular-string-literal-character
simple-escape-sequence
hexadecimal-escape-sequence
unicode-escape-sequence
single-regular-string-literal-character:
Any character except " (U+0022), \ (U+005C), and new-line-character
verbatim-string-literal:
@"   verbatim -string-literal-charactersopt   "
verbatim-string-literal-characters:
verbatim-string-literal-character
verbatim-string-literal-characters   verbatim-string-literal-character
verbatim-string-literal-character:
single-verbatim-string-literal-character
quote-escape-sequence
single-verbatim-string-literal-character:
Any character except "
quote-escape-sequence:
""

A character that follows a backslash character (\) in a regular-string-literal-character must be one of the following characters: ', ", \, 0, a, b, f, n, r, t, u, U, x, v. Otherwise, a compile-time error occurs.

The example

string a = "hello, world";                  // hello, world
string b = @"hello, world";               // hello, world
string c = "hello \t world";               // hello     world
string d = @"hello \t world";               // hello \t world
string e = "Joe said \"Hello\" to me";      // Joe said "Hello" to me
string f = @"Joe said ""Hello"" to me";   // Joe said "Hello" to me
string g = "\\\\server\\share\\file.txt";   // \\server\share\file.txt
string h = @"\\server\share\file.txt";      // \\server\share\file.txt
string i = "one\r\ntwo\r\nthree";
string j = @"one
two
three";

shows a variety of string literals. The last string literal, j, is a verbatim string literal that spans multiple lines. The characters between the quotation marks, including white space such as new line characters, are preserved verbatim.

Since a hexadecimal escape sequence can have a variable number of hex digits, the string literal "\x123" contains a single character with hex value 123. To create a string containing the character with hex value 12 followed by the character 3, you could write "\x00123" or "\x12" + "3" instead.

The type of a string-literal is string.

Each string literal does not necessarily result in a new string instance. When two or more string literals that are equivalent according to the string equality operator (Section 7.9.7) appear in the same assembly, these string literals refer to the same string instance. For instance, the output produced by

class Test
{
   static void Main() {
      object a = "hello";
      object b = "hello";
      System.Console.WriteLine(a == b);
   }
}

is True because the two literals refer to the same string instance.

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