While editing C or C++ files in emacs, I'd like to be able to go to the beginning of the containing block of code. I was expecting to find a c-beginning-of-block function, but alas, no such function exists (to my knowledge). For example, I might be editing the following ugly C code:

void myFunction()
  if (something) { //<--- I want to jump to this brace!
    // do lots of stuff
    if (stuff) {
      // stuff
    // more stuff
    // ...

    // I want to put my cursor somewhere on this line <---
    // (anywhere just outside the following if) and call c-beginning-of-block
    // and jump to the brace marked above (skipping "sibling" statements)
    if (pizza_is_good) {
      // do something
      // wait, where am I?
    // way more stuff
    // ...
    if (i_love_pizza) {
      // eat pizza

I would be very surprised if this isn't already part of emacs, I just can't find it anywhere...

fortran-mode has fortran-beginning-of-block

promela-mode has promela-find-start-of-containing-block

1 Answer 1


Try backward-up-list, bound by default to C-M-u.

  • 3
    and C-M-n (forward-list) jumps to the end of block
    – Francois
    Jun 25, 2012 at 16:13
  • To keep jumping within the block from beginning to end, this does not solve the purpose because when I try to move to end of block C-M-n takes me to end of ) of a function call.
    – dknight
    Feb 24, 2015 at 6:07
  • 2
    There are four related commands: C-M-n (next) and C-M-p (previous), which take you backwards and forwards over whole parenthesis blocks, and C-M-u (up) and C-M-d (down) which take you one level up or down the nesting of parentheses. (see docs) So to go to the end of the current block, you need C-M-u C-M-n May 19, 2016 at 13:36

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