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9.9 What if I don't have a <Meta> key?

On many keyboards, the <Alt> key acts as <Meta>, so try it.

Instead of typing M-a, you can type <ESC> a. In fact, Emacs converts M-a internally into <ESC> a anyway (depending on the value of meta-prefix-char). Note that you press <Meta> and a together, but with <ESC>, you press <ESC>, release it, and then press a.