C String Literals
Important This document may not represent best practices for current development, links to downloads and other resources may no longer be valid. Current recommended version can be found here. ArchiveDisclaimer

C String Literals

A "string literal" is a sequence of characters from the source character set enclosed in double quotation marks (" "). String literals are used to represent a sequence of characters which, taken together, form a null-terminated string. You must always prefix wide-string literals with the letter L.


" s-char-sequence opt "

L" s-char-sequence opt "



s-char-sequence s-char


any member of the source character set except the double quotation mark ("), backslash (\), or newline character


The example below is a simple string literal:

char *amessage = "This is a string literal.";

All escape codes listed in the Escape Sequences table are valid in string literals. To represent a double quotation mark in a string literal, use the escape sequence \". The single quotation mark (') can be represented without an escape sequence. The backslash (\) must be followed with a second backslash (\\) when it appears within a string. When a backslash appears at the end of a line, it is always interpreted as a line-continuation character.

© 2015 Microsoft