Gravis (typography)

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Diacritical marks
designation character
Acute, simple ◌́
Acute, double ◌̋
Breve, about it ◌̆
Breve, including ◌̮
Cedilla, including ◌̧
Cedilla, about it ◌̒
Gravis, simple ◌̀
Gravis, double ◌̏
hook ◌̉
Hatschek ◌̌
horn ◌̛
Comma below ◌̦
Coronis ◌̓
Kroužek, about it ◌̊
Kroužek, including ◌̥
Macron, about it ◌̄
Macron, underneath ◌̱
Ogonek ◌̨
Period about that ◌̇
Point below ◌̣
Dash ◌̶
Alcohol asper ◌̔
Spiritus lenis ◌̕
Tilde, about it ◌̃
Tilde, underneath ◌̰
Trema, about it ◌̈
Trema, including ◌̤
circumflex ◌̂
Àà Èè Ìì
Òò Ùù Ẁẁ

The grave accent [ ˈɡʀaːvɪs ] (from Latin gravis “heavy”, “violent”; accentus gravis ; French accent grave; English grave [accent] ) is a diacritical mark , more precisely an accent to identify a special pronunciation, stress or meaning of a letter. It is a short line sloping in the direction of writing above the letter (e.g. à, è ). The grave accent is used in different languages; the respective meaning differs from language to language. The counterpart is an acute . In computer science, the single character is technically referred to as backtick or backquote .



Ὰὰ Ὲὲ Ὴὴ Ὶὶ
Ὸὸ Ὺὺ Ὼὼ

The gravis first appeared in the 3rd century BC. In ancient Greek , where it was called βαρεῖα bareîa "heaviness". In modern Greek it has been obsolete in the official orthography since 1976.


Today it occurs particularly in French , where it is called accent grave ([ aksɑ̃ː ɡʀav ]). Its meaning depends on the vowel on which it is used.

  • à and ù appear only in a few cases and as a rule have no phonetic, but only semantic differentiation for the purpose. Word examples: a "[he / she / it] has" - à "to", "depending", "to" or ou "or" - "where".
  • è (phonetic value: [⁠ ɛ ⁠] ) shows an open e on (it roughly corresponds to the German etc. ). It differs phonetically clear from é with accent aigu (phonetic value [⁠ e ⁠] , corresponding to a brief spoken German eh ) or e, which is either the schwa -sound indicating (phonetic value corresponds approximately unstressed German e as in edge ) or is not pronounced at all (especially at the end of the word). The è is pronounced just like ê with an accent circonflexe .

However, the accent grave does not indicate the stress, since in French only the end of a word or syntagma is stressed. Unstressed è is not very common, but occurs in some words (e.g. in évènement ).

Other Romance languages

The grave accent also occurs in other Romance languages . In Italian it firstly shows the stress of the respective vowel in some cases when it deviates from the standard stress, for example in caffè "coffee" (in contrast to this in French café with accent aigu), and secondly it marks the variable vowels / e / and / o / as open ([ɛ] and [ɔ]). It can also be used to express a difference in meaning, for example in the words è “[he / she / it] is” versus e “and”. In Catalan , the grave accent marks a syllable that deviates from the general accentuation rules: à in “català” “Catalan”, “demà” “tomorrow” or “caràcter” “character”, è in València or “francès” “French” ". In Portuguese the Gravis is the Krasis the preposition a with the following articles a and as well as demonstrative aquele, aqueles, aquela, aquelas and aquilo, ie a, AS, Aquele etc. is phonetically so the open debate [a] of the unstressed a which would otherwise be like [ɐ].

Celtic languages

In Scottish Gaelic , the grave accent is used to indicate the length of vowels.

In Welsh , however, it is used to identify the shortness of vowels in words in which otherwise a long debate would be expected to come here also vocally pronounced WW [⁠ ʊ ⁠] and YY [⁠ y ⁠] or [⁠ ɪ ⁠] before. z. B. mẁg [mʊɡ] "cup" versus mwg [muːɡ] "smoke".


For the phonetic transcription of the Chinese language (Hanyu Pinyin ) the grave accent is used to clarify the fourth tone (falling).


Analogous to the double acute «̋» there is also a double engraving «̏», which u. a. used in the International Phonetic Alphabet .

Computer science

In computer science , the single character is fachsprachlich as back tick or back quote ( engl. For "backward inclined apostrophe " or "simple quotes "), respectively. For example, it is pairs of parentheses as of identifiers ( MySQL ) or embedded command line command ( Unix Shell , Perl , etc.) or as a line continuation character in Windows PowerShell uses. Another use is as a masking character of special characters that are not as control characters to be displayed, rather than text, for example, HTML files, CSV files , EDIFACT and registry files . Or use as an escape character in command languages ​​such as ESC / P ( Epson ) or PCL ( Hewlett-Packard ) to control printers .

Presentation on the computer

An enlarged grave accent

Character sets

The single grave accent `occurs in the ASCII character set . In the character sets of the ISO-8859 family, selected characters appear with a grave accent, ISO 8859-1, for example, contains the characters À, à, È, è, Ì, ì, Ò, ò, Ù and ù.

Unicode contains further pre-composed characters with grave accents. In addition, any character with a grave accent can be displayed on a Unicode basis by adding a combined grave accent. The single character has the Unicode designation GRAVE ACCENT ( number U + 0060).

Keyboard input

The above-mentioned characters from ISO 8859-1 can be easily created with the T2 keyboard , among other things , by first typing the grave accent and then the letter. For the single grave accent the space bar must be typed second.

TeX and LaTeX

TeX and LaTeX can represent any characters with a grave accent. There are two different commands for this.

  • In text mode for typesetting, \`aan à generates .
  • In math mode for the formula set generates \grave athe formula .

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