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Re: SymbolName question

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg61802] Re: [mg61794] SymbolName question
  • From: Chris Chiasson <chris.chiasson at>
  • Date: Sun, 30 Oct 2005 05:49:54 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


Most people probably use one of the following:

Information[a1], Definition[a1], ??, ? (which invoke different forms
of Information that also render a hyperlink), etc...


Print["The symbol ",SymbolName[Unevaluated[a1]]," has a value of ",a1];



(everyone else says, "cheers", why can't I?)

On 10/29/05, Matt <anonmous69 at> wrote:
> Hello,
>    It seems that if I want to print the 'name' of a symbol, that I need
> to save it in a variable before I actually use it.  Is this expected
> behaviour?  It would be imminently more useful if I could give any
> symbol to SymbolName and it would give me a string representation of
> the variable name.
> e.g.
> a1Name = SymbolName[a1];
> a1 = Array[r, {2, 2, 2}];
> Print["The symbol ", a1Name, " has a value of ", a1];
> works, but if I try this:
> a1 = Array[r, {2, 2, 2}];
> Print["The symbol ", SymbolName[a1], " has a value of ", a1];
> it doesn't, and I get the following error:
> SymbolName::sym : Argument {nested list} at position 1 is expected to
> be a symbol.  More...
> The online help states the following:
> "Once you have made an assignment such as x = 2, then whenever x is
> evaluated, it is replaced by 2. Sometimes, however, you may want to
> continue to refer to x itself, without immediately getting the value of
> x.
> You can do this by referring to x by name. The name of the symbol x is
> the string "x", and even though x itself may be replaced by a value,
> the string "x" will always stay the same."
> This seems to indicate that what I want to accomplish should in fact
> work without the need to first save the string representation of a
> symbol name before any value is assigned to it.
> $Version
> 5.1 for Microsoft Windows (October 25, 2004)
> Thanks,
> Matt


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