GNU Emacs Manual. Node: Paragraphs

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19.3: Paragraphs

The Emacs commands for manipulating paragraphs are also Meta keys.


Move back to previous paragraph beginning (backward-paragraph).

M-} Move forward to next paragraph end (forward-paragraph).
M-h Put point and mark around this or next paragraph (mark-paragraph).

M-{ moves to the beginning of the current or previous paragraph, while M-} moves to the end of the current or next paragraph. Blank lines and text-formatter command lines separate paragraphs and are not considered part of any paragraph. In Fundamental mode, but not in Text mode, an indented line also starts a new paragraph. (If a paragraph is preceded by a blank line, these commands treat that blank line as the beginning of the paragraph.)

In major modes for programs, paragraphs begin and end only at blank lines. This makes the paragraph commands continue to be useful even though there are no paragraphs per se.

When there is a fill prefix, then paragraphs are delimited by all lines which don't start with the fill prefix. See Filling.

When you wish to operate on a paragraph, you can use the command M-h (mark-paragraph) to set the region around it. Thus, for example, M-h C-w kills the paragraph around or after point. The M-h command puts point at the beginning and mark at the end of the paragraph point was in. In Transient Mark mode, it activates the mark. If point is between paragraphs (in a run of blank lines, or at a boundary), the paragraph following point is surrounded by point and mark. If there are blank lines preceding the first line of the paragraph, one of these blank lines is included in the region.

The precise definition of a paragraph boundary is controlled by the variables paragraph-separate and paragraph-start. The value of paragraph-start is a regexp that should match any line that either starts or separates paragraphs. The value of paragraph-separate is another regexp that should match only lines that separate paragraphs without being part of any paragraph (for example, blank lines). Lines that start a new paragraph and are contained in it must match only paragraph-start, not paragraph-separate. For example, in Fundamental mode, paragraph-start is "[ \t\n\f]" and paragraph-separate is "[ \t\f]*$".

Normally it is desirable for page boundaries to separate paragraphs. The default values of these variables recognize the usual separator for pages.

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