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Constructs for Combining Conditions
This section describes three constructs that are often used together
with `if' and `cond' to express complicated conditions. The constructs
`and' and `or' can also be used individually as kinds of multiple
- Function: not CONDITION
This function tests for the falsehood of CONDITION. It returns
`t' if CONDITION is `nil', and `nil' otherwise. The function
`not' is identical to `null', and we recommend using `null' if you
are testing for an empty list.
- Special Form: and CONDITIONS...
The `and' special form tests whether all the CONDITIONS are true.
It works by evaluating the CONDITIONS one by one in the order
If any of the CONDITIONS evaluates to `nil', then the result of
the `and' must be `nil' regardless of the remaining CONDITIONS; so
the remaining CONDITIONS are ignored and the `and' returns right
If all the CONDITIONS turn out non-`nil', then the value of the
last of them becomes the value of the `and' form.
Here is an example. The first condition returns the integer 1,
which is not `nil'. Similarly, the second condition returns the
integer 2, which is not `nil'. The third condition is `nil', so
the remaining condition is never evaluated.
(and (print 1) (print 2) nil (print 3))
Here is a more realistic example of using `and':
(if (and (consp foo) (eq (car foo) 'x))
(message "foo is a list starting with x"))
Note that `(car foo)' is not executed if `(consp foo)' returns
`nil', thus avoiding an error.
`and' can be expressed in terms of either `if' or `cond'. For
(and ARG1 ARG2 ARG3)
(if ARG1 (if ARG2 ARG3))
(cond (ARG1 (cond (ARG2 ARG3))))
- Special Form: or CONDITIONS...
The `or' special form tests whether at least one of the CONDITIONS
is true. It works by evaluating all the CONDITIONS one by one in
the order written.
If any of the CONDITIONS evaluates to a non-`nil' value, then the
result of the `or' must be non-`nil'; so the remaining CONDITIONS
are ignored and the `or' returns right away. The value it returns
is the non-`nil' value of the condition just evaluated.
If all the CONDITIONS turn out `nil', then the `or' expression
For example, this expression tests whether `x' is either 0 or
(or (eq x nil) (= x 0))
Like the `and' construct, `or' can be written in terms of `cond'.
(or ARG1 ARG2 ARG3)
You could almost write `or' in terms of `if', but not quite:
(if ARG1 ARG1
(if ARG2 ARG2
This is not completely equivalent because it can evaluate ARG1 or
ARG2 twice. By contrast, `(or ARG1 ARG2 ARG3)' never evaluates
any argument more than once.
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