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I came across this puzzling bit while inspecting a trace: In:= Quiet[InputForm[Trace[First][[2, 1]]]] Out//InputForm= HoldForm[Message[First::argx, HoldForm[First], HoldForm]] That HoldForm mystifies me. It looks completely unnecessary. What harm could come from evaluating 0 in this case? It can't possibly be slower than "evaluating" HoldForm. By the same token, HoldForm[First] looks almost as unnecessary. (I suppose that there could be some bizarre situation in which First won't evaluate to First, but I have a hard time imagining it.) kj PS: FWIW, First::argx gets interpreted as General::argx, which evaluates to "`1` called with `2` arguments; 1 argument is expected."