This is documentation for Mathematica 8, which was
based on an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.
View current documentation (Version 11.1)
Mathematica Syntax
Mathematica has a rich syntax carefully designed for consistency and efficient, readable entry of Mathematica's many language, mathematical, and other constructs. In addition to ordinary linear ASCII input, Mathematica also supports full 2D mathematical input.
Basic Syntax
f[x,y] function arguments go in square brackets
Exp, Do, ... built-in symbols have names beginning with capital letters
{...} (List ▪ "..." (String ▪ e[[i]] (Part ▪ e[[i;;j]] (Span)
Basic Operations
x=val set a value (=. to clear a value)
x==val test equality, or represent a symbolic equation (!= for unequal)
lhs:=rhs function etc. definition
a->b, ab rule for transformations, options, etc. (:> for delayed rule)
expr/.rule replace using a rule ("slash dot")
Mathematics & Operators
+  ▪ -  ▪ *  ▪ /  ▪ ^ (Power ▪ && (And ▪ || (Or ▪ ! (Not ▪ <> (StringJoin)
a b c spaces stand for multiplication
nn*^ee scientific notation
b^^nnnn number in a base
x_ any expression ("x blank")
x__, x___ sequences of arbitrary expressions ("x double blank", ...)
_, __, ___ unnamed patterns
x:p pattern name
p:d pattern default
.. (Repeated ▪ | (Alternatives ▪ /; (Condition ▪ ? (PatternTest)
Pure Functions
expr& a pure function
#, #2, etc. — arguments in a pure function
Short Forms
f@expr prefix function application
expr//f postfix function application ("slash slash")
/@ (Map — "slash at")  ▪ @@, @@@ (Apply ▪ ~~ (StringExpression ▪ === (SameQ)
Program Syntax
expr;expr;expr sequence of commands (CompoundExpression)
<<file input a file (>>file, >>>file for outputting to a file)
(* ... *) comment
ccc`nnn symbol in context ccc
Mathematica Session Syntax
% most recent output (%n for output on line n)
?x information on symbol