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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 conditional constructs. - 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 written. 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 away. 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)) -| 1 -| 2 => nil 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 example: (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 returns `nil'. For example, this expression tests whether `x' is either 0 or `nil': (or (eq x nil) (= x 0)) Like the `and' construct, `or' can be written in terms of `cond'. For example: (or ARG1 ARG2 ARG3) == (cond (ARG1) (ARG2) (ARG3)) You could almost write `or' in terms of `if', but not quite: (if ARG1 ARG1 (if ARG2 ARG2 ARG3)) 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.