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What string pattern will match an explicit asterisk (*) or at-sign (@)? The obvious example, StringMatchQ["*", "\*"], returns False. I can't find any mention of escaping them in string patterns, only in RegularExpressions, and that was in the advanced tutorial.

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1 Answer 1

Yes, you need to escape a * character in a string pattern because it's a wildcard. To escape it, just prepend a backslash to it. Remember that to insert a backslash in a Mathematica string, you need to type two backslashes:

StringMatchQ["*", "\\*"]

(* => True *)
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Come to think about it, this is pretty deep stuff. In a normal string, an asterisk isn't a special character that needs to be escaped, so "*" is just the character with character code 42, and "\*" is a single character with code 63432. "\\*" equals {92, 42}, and only because it is used in a string pattern (where * is special) it is interpreted as an escape sequence and equals the literal "*" (42). Note that "*"=="\\*" yields False (whereas "*"=="*" yields True). –  Sjoerd C. de Vries May 23 '13 at 21:59

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