My "<" and ">" don't seem to work in the second Learn HTML lesson

The second basic lesson for Learn HTML

This lesson will not let me use my “<” and “>” keys … pretty important for HTML!

The screen shows either a red “blank” when I type “<”, or a “>” highlighted in red when I type “>”. In any case, the characters are not working as tag characters, so I can’t do the lesson. Does anyone have a solution?


Could you post a screenshot on what you mean, please? Also, what browser are you using?

Thanks for the quick reply; I got a bit more info when I took the screenshot:

when I mouse over what should be the “<” or the “>”, I now see the message:

Special characters must be escaped ;
[ > ]

a) I do not know how to “escape” the characters. The escape key (seemed logical even though I expected it would not work!), the backslash key (about five minutes of coding in python recently), and enclosing in the brackets as shown, also did not do the trick.

b) even if something like that “worked”, the lessons on HTML would quickly become impractical since the real work is all done by tagging, and that would likely be the point of almost all the lessons in the sequence, wouldn’t it?


Escaped character just means closing bracket, so the > on a tag.

I don’t have any real solutions; try reloading the page? Have you seen this troubleshooting guide?

Well, I’ve tried them all, and I still get the same message. I even tried just typing <>, with no change in the result. (I thought maybe if I could fool the system with <>, I might then be able to sneak in the actual html between the delimiters. Sort of like the way that ‘’, “”, {} and usually work.)

Does anyone else have anything? I’m kind of stuck here without a way forward, and it’s not for lack of html knowledge.

Thanks again, codeneutrino

In your screenshot, you have made a mistake.
We are supposed to type <!DOCTYPE html>
You have typed <DOCTYPE! html>
When you start typing the < you will see a red message. Don’t worry about it. When you write the complete statement and close the tag >, the message will disappear.

That did the trick! Many thanks, mtrtmk. I could have stared at that for many more hours and still not see what is now obvious. I’m back on track.

It is a bit weird, though. The red space (with no “<”) continues to display until I type the closing “>”, when the view returns to normal. Is that typical for these lessons? I can’t actually be sure I haven’t made a typo until I complete the entire tag. Since I (obviously) make a lot of typos …