## 4.16 Escape special characters

Some characters have special meanings in the Markdown syntax. If you want these characters verbatim, you have to escape them. For example, a pair of underscores surrounding text usually makes the text italic. You need to escape the underscores if you want verbatim underscores instead of italic text. The way to escape a special character is to add a backslash before it, e.g., I do not want \_italic text\_ here. Similarly, if # does not indicate a section heading, you may write \# This is not a heading.

As mentioned in Section 4.12, a sequence of whitespaces will be rendered as a single regular space. If you want to render the sequence of spaces literally, you need to escape each of them, e.g., keep the social \ \ \ distance. When a space is escaped, it is converted to a “non-breaking space,” which means the line will not be wrapped at this space, e.g., Mr.\ Dervieux.