4.5. Statements

A statement ends at a newline character (\n) or line separator character. (The line separator is usually ;, unless this conflicts with the comment character; Chapter 9 Machine Dependent Features.) The newline or separator character is considered part of the preceding statement. Newlines and separators within character constants are an exception: they do not end statements.

It is an error to end any statement with end-of-file: the last character of any input file should be a newline.

An empty statement is allowed, and may include whitespace. It is ignored.

A statement begins with zero or more labels, optionally followed by a key symbol which determines what kind of statement it is. The key symbol determines the syntax of the rest of the statement. If the symbol begins with a dot . then the statement is an assembler directive: typically valid for any computer. If the symbol begins with a letter the statement is an assembly language instruction: it assembles into a machine language instruction. Different versions of as for different computers recognize different instructions. In fact, the same symbol may represent a different instruction in a different computer's assembly language.

A label is a symbol immediately followed by a colon (:). Whitespace before a label or after a colon is permitted, but you may not have whitespace between a label's symbol and its colon. Refer to Section 6.1 Labels.

For HPPA targets, labels need not be immediately followed by a colon, but the definition of a label must begin in column zero. This also implies that only one label may be defined on each line.

label:     .directive    followed by something
another_label:           # This is an empty statement.
           instruction   operand_1, operand_2, …