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How does one insert a backslash or a tilde into LaTeX?

How do I express ~ in LaTeX. I have tried \~ but it doesn't work. Is there a specific syntax for it and is there a reason why it doesn't work?

marked as duplicate by Andrey Vihrov, Werner, N.N., egreg, Torbjørn T. Nov 10 '11 at 7:49

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    \textasciitilde or $\sim$, depending on your preference. You could also use \verb!~!, but this will typeset it using \ttfamily. – Werner Nov 10 '11 at 7:28
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    ...as a side note, the reason why it doesn't work is because \~ is a command that provides a tilde accent, and therefore requires an argument: \~{a} or \~o. On the other hand, using only ~ is what is called an unbreakable space or "tie" in LaTeX. – Werner Nov 10 '11 at 7:36

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