Angle brackets are used in linguistics to denote orthographical writing in a context where the distinction matters like "$\langle$wh$\rangle$ is pronounced /w/ or /ʍ/ but not /hw/ in English".

However, inputting angle brackets is difficult in markdown, and this help page is silent about them. Naively entering them with "greater than" and "less than" signs leads to disappearing text (<wh> is rendered ) because they are interpreted as some non-existent XML tags.

So: Is there a simple method of entering angle brackets here (I can pick some angle bracket out of a Unicode table, but I do not consider this a simple method)? Can this method be documented in the help center?

P.S. Of course, LaTeX support would help here, as this question demonstrates.


The easiest way to get <wh> is by escaping the brackets with backslashes:


Anything with unescaped angle brackets is read as code (HTML tags). There are a small number of tags that work, such as <br> making a line break (as described in the Help Center). Anything in unescaped angle brackets that’s not an allowed tag is stripped out for security reasons.


Sublime Text, in some syntax modes, converts many TeX symbol words to their corresponding symbols. I set the syntax to Julia. Hitting '\' triggers Sublime's auto-complete dropdown. Typing the first few letters of the symbol's name (lan or ran) usually takes us to the relevant symbol, which can then be selected using TAB or ENTER keys. Emacs does something similar in Julia major-mode too... except there is no dropdown with a list of symbols. In Emacs, we have to type the full name (\langle or \rangle) and hit TAB.

⟨ this works for me ⟩

Before submitting this answer, I re-read your question.

Naively entering them with "greater than" and "less than" sings leads to disappearing text

That solves the problem as far as StackExchange sites are concerned. Just type &langle; and &rangle; to get ⟨ and ⟩.

  • 1
    Or &lt; and &gt; for < and >.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Sep 29 '20 at 22:13

If, like me, you're too indolent to bother memorising random strings, and too impatient to go and look them up when you need them, an alternative is to use the greater and less than signs with a space in between each sign and the interpolated text. So < wh > thus renders < wh >. Not ideal, but if you're as lazy as I am, it'll do the job.

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