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PERLREBACKSLASH(1)     Perl Programmers Reference Guide	    PERLREBACKSLASH(1)

       perlrebackslash - Perl Regular Expression Backslash Sequences and

       The top level documentation about Perl regular expressions is found in

       This document describes all backslash and escape sequences. After
       explaining the role of the backslash, it lists all the sequences that
       have a special meaning in Perl regular expressions (in alphabetical
       order), then describes each of them.

       Most sequences are described in detail in different documents; the
       primary purpose of this document is to have a quick reference guide
       describing all backslash and escape sequences.

   The backslash
       In a regular expression, the backslash can perform one of two tasks: it
       either takes away the special meaning of the character following it
       (for instance, "\|" matches a vertical bar, it's not an alternation),
       or it is the start of a backslash or escape sequence.

       The rules determining what it is are quite simple: if the character
       following the backslash is an ASCII punctuation (non-word) character
       (that is, anything that is not a letter, digit or underscore), then the
       backslash just takes away the special meaning (if any) of the character
       following it.

       If the character following the backslash is an ASCII letter or an ASCII
       digit, then the sequence may be special; if so, it's listed below. A
       few letters have not been used yet, so escaping them with a backslash
       doesn't change them to be special.  A future version of Perl may assign
       a special meaning to them, so if you have warnings turned on, Perl will
       issue a warning if you use such a sequence.  [1].

       It is however guaranteed that backslash or escape sequences never have
       a punctuation character following the backslash, not now, and not in a
       future version of Perl 5. So it is safe to put a backslash in front of
       a non-word character.

       Note that the backslash itself is special; if you want to match a
       backslash, you have to escape the backslash with a backslash: "/\\/"
       matches a single backslash.

       [1] There is one exception. If you use an alphanumerical character as
	   the delimiter of your pattern (which you probably shouldn't do for
	   readability reasons), you will have to escape the delimiter if you
	   want to match it. Perl won't warn then. See also "Gory details of
	   parsing quoted constructs" in perlop.

   All the sequences and escapes
       Those not usable within a bracketed character class (like "[\da-z]")
       are marked as "Not in []."

	\000		  Octal escape sequence.
	\1		  Absolute backreference.  Not in [].
	\a		  Alarm or bell.
	\A		  Beginning of string.	Not in [].
	\b		  Word/non-word boundary. (Backspace in []).
	\B		  Not a word/non-word boundary.	 Not in [].
	\cX		  Control-X (X can be any ASCII character).
	\C		  Single octet, even under UTF-8.  Not in [].
	\d		  Character class for digits.
	\D		  Character class for non-digits.
	\e		  Escape character.
	\E		  Turn off \Q, \L and \U processing.  Not in [].
	\f		  Form feed.
	\g{}, \g1	  Named, absolute or relative backreference.  Not in [].
	\G		  Pos assertion.  Not in [].
	\h		  Character class for horizontal whitespace.
	\H		  Character class for non horizontal whitespace.
	\k{}, \k<>, \k''  Named backreference.	Not in [].
	\K		  Keep the stuff left of \K.  Not in [].
	\l		  Lowercase next character.  Not in [].
	\L		  Lowercase till \E.  Not in [].
	\n		  (Logical) newline character.
	\N		  Any character but newline.  Experimental.  Not in [].
	\N{}		  Named or numbered (Unicode) character.
	\p{}, \pP	  Character with the given Unicode property.
	\P{}, \PP	  Character without the given Unicode property.
	\Q		  Quotemeta till \E.  Not in [].
	\r		  Return character.
	\R		  Generic new line.  Not in [].
	\s		  Character class for whitespace.
	\S		  Character class for non whitespace.
	\t		  Tab character.
	\u		  Titlecase next character.  Not in [].
	\U		  Uppercase till \E.  Not in [].
	\v		  Character class for vertical whitespace.
	\V		  Character class for non vertical whitespace.
	\w		  Character class for word characters.
	\W		  Character class for non-word characters.
	\x{}, \x00	  Hexadecimal escape sequence.
	\X		  Unicode "extended grapheme cluster".	Not in [].
	\z		  End of string.  Not in [].
	\Z		  End of string.  Not in [].

   Character Escapes
       Fixed characters

       A handful of characters have a dedicated character escape. The
       following table shows them, along with their ASCII code points (in
       decimal and hex), their ASCII name, the control escape (see below) and
       a short description.

	Seq.  Code Point  ASCII	  Cntr	  Description.
	      Dec    Hex
	 \a	7     07    BEL	   \cG	  alarm or bell
	 \b	8     08     BS	   \cH	  backspace [1]
	 \e    27     1B    ESC	   \c[	  escape character
	 \f    12     0C     FF	   \cL	  form feed
	 \n    10     0A     LF	   \cJ	  line feed [2]
	 \r    13     0D     CR	   \cM	  carriage return
	 \t	9     09    TAB	   \cI	  tab

       [1] "\b" is only the backspace character inside a character class.
	   Outside a character class, "\b" is a word/non-word boundary.

       [2] "\n" matches a logical newline. Perl will convert between "\n" and
	   your OSses native newline character when reading from or writing to
	   text files.


	$str =~ /\t/;	# Matches if $str contains a (horizontal) tab.

       Control characters

       "\c" is used to denote a control character; the character following
       "\c" is the name of the control character. For instance, "/\cM/"
       matches the character control-M (a carriage return, code point 13). The
       case of the character following "\c" doesn't matter: "\cM" and "\cm"
       match the same character.

       Mnemonic: control character.


	$str =~ /\cK/;	# Matches if $str contains a vertical tab (control-K).

       Named or numbered characters

       All Unicode characters have a Unicode name and numeric ordinal value.
       Use the "\N{}" construct to specify a character by either of these

       To specify by name, the name of the character goes between the curly
       braces.	In this case, you have to "use charnames" to load the Unicode
       names of the characters, otherwise Perl will complain.

       To specify by Unicode ordinal number, use the form "\N{U+wide hex
       character}", where wide hex character is a number in hexadecimal that
       gives the ordinal number that Unicode has assigned to the desired
       character.  It is customary (but not required) to use leading zeros to
       pad the number to 4 digits.  Thus "\N{U+0041}" means "Latin Capital
       Letter A", and you will rarely see it written without the two leading
       zeros.  "\N{U+0041}" means "A" even on EBCDIC machines (where the
       ordinal value of "A" is not 0x41).

       It is even possible to give your own names to characters, and even to
       short sequences of characters.  For details, see charnames.

       (There is an expanded internal form that you may see in debug output:
       "\N{U+wide hex character.wide hex character...}".  The "..." means any
       number of these wide hex characters separated by dots.  This represents
       the sequence formed by the characters.  This is an internal form only,
       subject to change, and you should not try to use it yourself.)

       Mnemonic: Named character.

       Note that a character that is expressed as a named or numbered
       character is considered as a character without special meaning by the
       regex engine, and will match "as is".


	use charnames ':full';		     # Loads the Unicode names.
	$str =~ /\N{THAI CHARACTER SO SO}/;  # Matches the Thai SO SO character

	use charnames 'Cyrillic';	     # Loads Cyrillic names.
	$str =~ /\N{ZHE}\N{KA}/;	     # Match "ZHE" followed by "KA".

       Octal escapes

       Octal escapes consist of a backslash followed by two or three octal
       digits matching the code point of the character you want to use. This
       allows for 512 characters ("\00" up to "\777") that can be expressed
       this way (but anything above "\377" is deprecated).  Enough in pre-
       Unicode days, but most Unicode characters cannot be escaped this way.

       Note that a character that is expressed as an octal escape is
       considered as a character without special meaning by the regex engine,
       and will match "as is".

       Examples (assuming an ASCII platform)

	$str = "Perl";
	$str =~ /\120/;	   # Match, "\120" is "P".
	$str =~ /\120+/;   # Match, "\120" is "P", it is repeated at least once.
	$str =~ /P\053/;   # No match, "\053" is "+" and taken literally.


       Octal escapes potentially clash with backreferences. They both consist
       of a backslash followed by numbers. So Perl has to use heuristics to
       determine whether it is a backreference or an octal escape. Perl uses
       the following rules:

       1.  If the backslash is followed by a single digit, it's a

       2.  If the first digit following the backslash is a 0, it's an octal

       3.  If the number following the backslash is N (decimal), and Perl
	   already has seen N capture groups, Perl will consider this to be a
	   backreference.  Otherwise, it will consider it to be an octal
	   escape. Note that if N > 999, Perl only takes the first three
	   digits for the octal escape; the rest is matched as is.

	    my $pat  = "(" x 999;
	       $pat .= "a";
	       $pat .= ")" x 999;
	    /^($pat)\1000$/;   #  Matches 'aa'; there are 1000 capture groups.
	    /^$pat\1000$/;     #  Matches 'a@0'; there are 999 capture groups
			       #    and \1000 is seen as \100 (a '@') and a '0'.

       Hexadecimal escapes

       Hexadecimal escapes start with "\x" and are then either followed by a
       two digit hexadecimal number, or a hexadecimal number of arbitrary
       length surrounded by curly braces. The hexadecimal number is the code
       point of the character you want to express.

       Note that a character that is expressed as a hexadecimal escape is
       considered as a character without special meaning by the regex engine,
       and will match "as is".

       Mnemonic: hexadecimal.

       Examples (assuming an ASCII platform)

	$str = "Perl";
	$str =~ /\x50/;	   # Match, "\x50" is "P".
	$str =~ /\x50+/;   # Match, "\x50" is "P", it is repeated at least once.
	$str =~ /P\x2B/;   # No match, "\x2B" is "+" and taken literally.

	/\x{2603}\x{2602}/ # Snowman with an umbrella.
			   # The Unicode character 2603 is a snowman,
			   # the Unicode character 2602 is an umbrella.
	/\x{263B}/	   # Black smiling face.
	/\x{263b}/	   # Same, the hex digits A - F are case insensitive.

       A number of backslash sequences have to do with changing the character,
       or characters following them. "\l" will lowercase the character
       following it, while "\u" will uppercase (or, more accurately,
       titlecase) the character following it. (They perform similar
       functionality as the functions "lcfirst" and "ucfirst").

       To uppercase or lowercase several characters, one might want to use
       "\L" or "\U", which will lowercase/uppercase all characters following
       them, until either the end of the pattern, or the next occurrence of
       "\E", whatever comes first. They perform similar functionality as the
       functions "lc" and "uc" do.

       "\Q" is used to escape all characters following, up to the next "\E" or
       the end of the pattern. "\Q" adds a backslash to any character that
       isn't a letter, digit or underscore. This will ensure that any
       character between "\Q" and "\E" is matched literally, and will not be
       interpreted by the regexp engine.

       Mnemonic: Lowercase, Uppercase, Quotemeta, End.


	$sid	 = "sid";
	$greg	 = "GrEg";
	$miranda = "(Miranda)";
	$str	 =~ /\u$sid/;	     # Matches 'Sid'
	$str	 =~ /\L$greg/;	     # Matches 'greg'
	$str	 =~ /\Q$miranda\E/;  # Matches '(Miranda)', as if the pattern
				     #	 had been written as /\(Miranda\)/

   Character classes
       Perl regular expressions have a large range of character classes. Some
       of the character classes are written as a backslash sequence. We will
       briefly discuss those here; full details of character classes can be
       found in perlrecharclass.

       "\w" is a character class that matches any single word character
       (letters, digits, underscore). "\d" is a character class that matches
       any decimal digit, while the character class "\s" matches any
       whitespace character.  New in perl 5.10.0 are the classes "\h" and "\v"
       which match horizontal and vertical whitespace characters.

       The uppercase variants ("\W", "\D", "\S", "\H", and "\V") are character
       classes that match any character that isn't a word character, digit,
       whitespace, horizontal whitespace nor vertical whitespace.

       Mnemonics: word, digit, space, horizontal, vertical.

       Unicode classes

       "\pP" (where "P" is a single letter) and "\p{Property}" are used to
       match a character that matches the given Unicode property; properties
       include things like "letter", or "thai character". Capitalizing the
       sequence to "\PP" and "\P{Property}" make the sequence match a
       character that doesn't match the given Unicode property. For more
       details, see "Backslashed sequences" in perlrecharclass and "Unicode
       Character Properties" in perlunicode.

       Mnemonic: property.

       If capturing parenthesis are used in a regular expression, we can refer
       to the part of the source string that was matched, and match exactly
       the same thing. There are three ways of referring to such
       backreference: absolutely, relatively, and by name.

       Absolute referencing

       A backslash sequence that starts with a backslash and is followed by a
       number is an absolute reference (but be aware of the caveat mentioned
       above).	If the number is N, it refers to the Nth set of parentheses -
       whatever has been matched by that set of parenthesis has to be matched
       by the "\N" as well.


	/(\w+) \1/;    # Finds a duplicated word, (e.g. "cat cat").
	/(.)(.)\2\1/;  # Match a four letter palindrome (e.g. "ABBA").

       Relative referencing

       New in perl 5.10.0 is a different way of referring to capture buffers:
       "\g".  "\g" takes a number as argument, with the number in curly braces
       (the braces are optional). If the number (N) does not have a sign, it's
       a reference to the Nth capture group (so "\g{2}" is equivalent to "\2"
       - except that "\g" always refers to a capture group and will never be
       seen as an octal escape). If the number is negative, the reference is
       relative, referring to the Nth group before the "\g{-N}".

       The big advantage of "\g{-N}" is that it makes it much easier to write
       patterns with references that can be interpolated in larger patterns,
       even if the larger pattern also contains capture groups.

       Mnemonic: group.


	/(A)	    # Buffer 1
	 (	    # Buffer 2
	   (B)	    # Buffer 3
	   \g{-1}   # Refers to buffer 3 (B)
	   \g{-3}   # Refers to buffer 1 (A)
	/x;	    # Matches "ABBA".

	my $qr = qr /(.)(.)\g{-2}\g{-1}/;  # Matches 'abab', 'cdcd', etc.
	/$qr$qr/			   # Matches 'ababcdcd'.

       Named referencing

       Also new in perl 5.10.0 is the use of named capture buffers, which can
       be referred to by name. This is done with "\g{name}", which is a
       backreference to the capture buffer with the name name.

       To be compatible with .Net regular expressions, "\g{name}" may also be
       written as "\k{name}", "\k<name>" or "\k'name'".

       Note that "\g{}" has the potential to be ambiguous, as it could be a
       named reference, or an absolute or relative reference (if its argument
       is numeric).  However, names are not allowed to start with digits, nor
       are they allowed to contain a hyphen, so there is no ambiguity.


	/(?<word>\w+) \g{word}/ # Finds duplicated word, (e.g. "cat cat")
	/(?<word>\w+) \k{word}/ # Same.
	/(?<word>\w+) \k<word>/ # Same.
				# Match a four letter palindrome (e.g. "ABBA")

       Assertions are conditions that have to be true; they don't actually
       match parts of the substring. There are six assertions that are written
       as backslash sequences.

       \A  "\A" only matches at the beginning of the string. If the "/m"
	   modifier isn't used, then "/\A/" is equivalent with "/^/". However,
	   if the "/m" modifier is used, then "/^/" matches internal newlines,
	   but the meaning of "/\A/" isn't changed by the "/m" modifier. "\A"
	   matches at the beginning of the string regardless whether the "/m"
	   modifier is used.

       \z, \Z
	   "\z" and "\Z" match at the end of the string. If the "/m" modifier
	   isn't used, then "/\Z/" is equivalent with "/$/", that is, it
	   matches at the end of the string, or before the newline at the end
	   of the string. If the "/m" modifier is used, then "/$/" matches at
	   internal newlines, but the meaning of "/\Z/" isn't changed by the
	   "/m" modifier. "\Z" matches at the end of the string (or just
	   before a trailing newline) regardless whether the "/m" modifier is

	   "\z" is just like "\Z", except that it will not match before a
	   trailing newline. "\z" will only match at the end of the string -
	   regardless of the modifiers used, and not before a newline.

       \G  "\G" is usually only used in combination with the "/g" modifier. If
	   the "/g" modifier is used (and the match is done in scalar
	   context), Perl will remember where in the source string the last
	   match ended, and the next time, it will start the match from where
	   it ended the previous time.

	   "\G" matches the point where the previous match ended, or the
	   beginning of the string if there was no previous match.

	   Mnemonic: Global.

       \b, \B
	   "\b" matches at any place between a word and a non-word character;
	   "\B" matches at any place between characters where "\b" doesn't
	   match. "\b" and "\B" assume there's a non-word character before the
	   beginning and after the end of the source string; so "\b" will
	   match at the beginning (or end) of the source string if the source
	   string begins (or ends) with a word character. Otherwise, "\B" will

	   Mnemonic: boundary.


	 "cat"	 =~ /\Acat/;	 # Match.
	 "cat"	 =~ /cat\Z/;	 # Match.
	 "cat\n" =~ /cat\Z/;	 # Match.
	 "cat\n" =~ /cat\z/;	 # No match.

	 "cat"	 =~ /\bcat\b/;	 # Matches.
	 "cats"	 =~ /\bcat\b/;	 # No match.
	 "cat"	 =~ /\bcat\B/;	 # No match.
	 "cats"	 =~ /\bcat\B/;	 # Match.

	 while ("cat dog" =~ /(\w+)/g) {
	     print $1;		 # Prints 'catdog'
	 while ("cat dog" =~ /\G(\w+)/g) {
	     print $1;		 # Prints 'cat'

       Here we document the backslash sequences that don't fall in one of the
       categories above. They are:

       \C  "\C" always matches a single octet, even if the source string is
	   encoded in UTF-8 format, and the character to be matched is a
	   multi-octet character.  "\C" was introduced in perl 5.6.

	   Mnemonic: oCtet.

       \K  This is new in perl 5.10.0. Anything that is matched left of "\K"
	   is not included in $& - and will not be replaced if the pattern is
	   used in a substitution. This will allow you to write "s/PAT1 \K
	   PAT2/REPL/x" instead of "s/(PAT1) PAT2/${1}REPL/x" or "s/(?<=PAT1)

	   Mnemonic: Keep.

       \N  This is a new experimental feature in perl 5.12.0.  It matches any
	   character that is not a newline.  It is a short-hand for writing
	   "[^\n]", and is identical to the "." metasymbol, except under the
	   "/s" flag, which changes the meaning of ".", but not "\N".

	   Note that "\N{...}" can mean a named or numbered character.

	   Mnemonic: Complement of \n.

       \R  "\R" matches a generic newline, that is, anything that is
	   considered a newline by Unicode. This includes all characters
	   matched by "\v" (vertical whitespace), and the multi character
	   sequence "\x0D\x0A" (carriage return followed by a line feed, aka
	   the network newline, or the newline used in Windows text files).
	   "\R" is equivalent to "(?>\x0D\x0A)|\v)". Since "\R" can match a
	   sequence of more than one character, it cannot be put inside a
	   bracketed character class; "/[\R]/" is an error; use "\v" instead.
	   "\R" was introduced in perl 5.10.0.

	   Mnemonic: none really. "\R" was picked because PCRE already uses
	   "\R", and more importantly because Unicode recommends such a
	   regular expression metacharacter, and suggests "\R" as the

       \X  This matches a Unicode extended grapheme cluster.

	   "\X" matches quite well what normal (non-Unicode-programmer) usage
	   would consider a single character.  As an example, consider a G
	   with some sort of diacritic mark, such as an arrow.	There is no
	   such single character in Unicode, but one can be composed by using
	   a G followed by a Unicode "COMBINING UPWARDS ARROW BELOW", and
	   would be displayed by Unicode-aware software as if it were a single

	   Mnemonic: eXtended Unicode character.


	"\x{256}" =~ /^\C\C$/;	  # Match as chr (256) takes 2 octets in UTF-8.

	$str =~ s/foo\Kbar/baz/g; # Change any 'bar' following a 'foo' to 'baz'.
	$str =~ s/(.)\K\1//g;	  # Delete duplicated characters.

	"\n"   =~ /^\R$/;	  # Match, \n	is a generic newline.
	"\r"   =~ /^\R$/;	  # Match, \r	is a generic newline.
	"\r\n" =~ /^\R$/;	  # Match, \r\n is a generic newline.

	"P\x{0307}" =~ /^\X$/	  # \X matches a P with a dot above.

perl v5.12.2			  2010-09-06		    PERLREBACKSLASH(1)
                             _         _         _ 
                            | |       | |       | |     
                            | |       | |       | |     
                         __ | | __ __ | | __ __ | | __  
                         \ \| |/ / \ \| |/ / \ \| |/ /  
                          \ \ / /   \ \ / /   \ \ / /   
                           \   /     \   /     \   /    
                            \_/       \_/       \_/ 
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