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The original text (it has been updated) at https://mathematica.stackexchange.com/editing-help said:

Like code blocks, code spans will be displayed in a monospaced font. Markdown and HTML will not work within them. Note that, [unlike] code blocks, code spans require you to manually escape any HTML within!

I cannot understand what's the word unlike referring to, and the meaning of manually escape any HTML within.

In my present knowledge of 'manually escape HTML within' is to remove manually, however we should manually remove both in code blocks and code spans in the example above. So where I went wrong in comprehending this sentence?

  • 1
    If you have to manually escape <sometag>, you have to type &lt;sometag&gt;.
    – user230
    Jun 23, 2013 at 16:54
  • @snailboat There is one answer in the previous post. That passage is misleading. code span could also be done by <code></code> and back-ticks `` Jun 26, 2013 at 4:17

1 Answer 1


Preposition unlike has senses “Differently from; not in a like or similar manner” and “In contrast with”.

In the referenced context, unlike is used to denote that text that looks like HTML is treated differently in a code span (text delimited by back-ticks) than it is in a code block (text in 4-space-indented lines).

The phrase “code spans require you to manually escape any HTML within” is predicated upon the idea that you want the text that looks like HTML within a code span to look like HTML in the resulting displayed page. It means that if you don't add the proper escapes before or around the text that looks like HTML, it won't appear as such in the result.

Note that editing help for English Language Learners does not include a #code section and the different treatment of HTML in code spans vs code blocks as used in Mathematica Stackexchange and some other Stackexchanges apparently doesn't apply here.

  • Basically, the code markup methods serve no purpose on ELL. The only answer to "how do I do [x] with code blocks on ELL" is "you shouldn't use code block on ELL". Hence, there's no need to include that section in the help.
    – Martha
    Jun 23, 2013 at 17:22
  • 1
    But they do serve a purpose--more than one, in fact. For example, if I want to talk about a particular symbol like ;, it's best if I put it in a code span for clarity's sake. If I want to make a table, I have no choice but to use a code block. And lastly, if I want to mark unlike items in distinct ways visually and I've exhausted the alternatives, I can turn to code spans.
    – user230
    Jun 23, 2013 at 19:28
  • There is one answer in the previous post. That passage is misleading. code span could also be done by <code></code> and back-ticks `` Jun 26, 2013 at 4:19
  • @HyperGroups, I don't know which previous post you are referring to. In my answer above, I included brief parenthesized notes merely to distinguish code spans from code blocks. I realize <code>...</code> sequences can be used for spans in questions and answers (but not in comments), that double backtick quotes can be used if the code span should show a backtick, or triple backticks if a double backtick should be shown, and that there is a special backslash backtick case applicable in comments. But I felt that level of detail was not relevant. Jun 26, 2013 at 6:12

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