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GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual

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30.2.2 Motion by Words

These functions for parsing words use the syntax table to decide whether a given character is part of a word. See section 35. Syntax Tables.

Command: forward-word count
This function moves point forward count words (or backward if count is negative). "Moving one word" means moving until point crosses a word-constituent character and then encounters a word-separator character. However, this function cannot move point past the boundary of the accessible portion of the buffer, or across a field boundary (see section 32.19.10 Defining and Using Fields). The most common case of a field boundary is the end of the prompt in the minibuffer.

If it is possible to move count words, without being stopped prematurely by the buffer boundary or a field boundary, the value is t. Otherwise, the return value is nil and point stops at the buffer boundary or field boundary.

If inhibit-field-text-motion is non-nil, this function ignores field boundaries.

In an interactive call, count is specified by the numeric prefix argument.

Command: backward-word count
This function is just like forward-word, except that it moves backward until encountering the front of a word, rather than forward.

In an interactive call, count is set to the numeric prefix argument.

Variable: words-include-escapes
This variable affects the behavior of forward-word and everything that uses it. If it is non-nil, then characters in the "escape" and "character quote" syntax classes count as part of words. Otherwise, they do not.

Variable: inhibit-field-text-motion
If this variable is non-nil, certain motion functions including forward-word, forward-sentence, and forward-paragraph ignore field boundaries.

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