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This question already has an answer here:

What do \< and \> mean inside of a string?

SubscriptBox["\<\"x\"\>", "\<\"y\"\>"] // DisplayForm

$\text{x}_\text{y}$

The tutorials String Representation of Boxes and Converting between Strings, Boxes and Expressions don't seem to have any reference to this.

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merged by Mr.Wizard Aug 22 '16 at 6:48

This question was merged with What are “\<” and “\>” delimiters in box expressions? because it is an exact duplicate of that question.