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GNU Emacs Manual

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L.1 Killing Your Mistakes

DEL
Delete last character (delete-backward-char).
M-DEL
Kill last word (backward-kill-word).
C-x DEL
Kill to beginning of sentence (backward-kill-sentence).

The DEL character (delete-backward-char) is the most important correction command. It deletes the character before point. When DEL follows a self-inserting character command, you can think of it as canceling that command. However, avoid the mistake of thinking of DEL as a general way to cancel a command!

When your mistake is longer than a couple of characters, it might be more convenient to use M-DEL or C-x DEL. M-DEL kills back to the start of the last word, and C-x DEL kills back to the start of the last sentence. C-x DEL is particularly useful when you change your mind about the phrasing of the text you are writing. M-DEL and C-x DEL save the killed text for C-y and M-y to retrieve. See section H.8 Yanking.

M-DEL is often useful even when you have typed only a few characters wrong, if you know you are confused in your typing and aren't sure exactly what you typed. At such a time, you cannot correct with DEL except by looking at the screen to see what you did. Often it requires less thought to kill the whole word and start again.


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