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RE: Re: Sometimes <space> means multiple , sometimes not

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  • Subject: [mg75364] RE: [mg75358] Re: Sometimes <space> means multiple , sometimes not
  • From: "Virgilio, Vincent - SSD" <Vincent.Virgilio at>
  • Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 05:18:08 -0400 (EDT)

Personally, I think it was a mistake to overload the meaning of "space"
to multiply. I bet Wolfram Inc. would reverse that decision now, if it
wasn't for backward compatibility.

I like to compare Mathematica to C++. Somewhere in his writings, Bjarne
Stroustrup mentions the same issue, and his decision not to overload
whitespace. I think the question also arises on the Boost mailing lists
now and then, mostly tongue-in-cheek.

(Corrections welcome.)

Vince Virgilio

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Rowe [mailto:readnewsciv at]
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2007 3:35 AM
To: mathgroup at
Subject: [mg75364] [mg75358] Re: Sometimes <space> means multiple , sometimes not

On 4/25/07 at 5:27 AM, siewsk at wrote:

>As a newbie, I was taught that <space> character in Mathematica means
>multiple. But sometimes it does not.

>For example:

<examples snipped>

Mathematica allows spaces to be placed before or after any operation.
Consequently, a space is only interpreted as a multiply when there is no
other operator or other possible interpretation.

So, -4 -2 is the same as -4 - 2 or -4-2 and gives -6 but
     -4 (-2) will yield 8
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