MATHEMATICA TUTORIAL

Specifying Types of Expression in Patterns

You can tell a lot about what "type" of expression something is by looking at its head. Thus, for example, an integer has head Integer, while a list has head List.

In a pattern, and represent expressions that are constrained to have head h. Thus, for example, represents any integer, while represents any list.

x_han expression with head h
x_Integeran integer
x_Realan approximate real number
x_Complexa complex number
x_Lista list
x_Symbola symbol

Patterns for objects with specified heads.

This replaces just those elements that are integers.
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You can think of making an assignment for as like defining a function that must take an argument of "type" Integer.

This defines a value for the function when its argument is an integer.
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The definition applies only when the argument of is an integer.
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The object has head Real, so the definition does not apply.
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This defines values for expressions with integer exponents.
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The definition is used only when the exponent is an integer.
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