# (lispref.info)Lists as Boxes

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Lists as Linked Pairs of Boxes
==============================

A cons cell can be illustrated as a pair of boxes.  The first box
represents the CAR and the second box represents the CDR.  Here is an
illustration of the two-element list, `(tulip lily)', made from two
cons cells:

---------------         ---------------
| car   | cdr   |       | car   | cdr   |
| tulip |   o---------->| lily  |  nil  |
|       |       |       |       |       |
---------------         ---------------

Each pair of boxes represents a cons cell.  Each box "refers to",
"points to" or "contains" a Lisp object.  (These terms are synonymous.)
The first box, which is the CAR of the first cons cell, contains the
symbol `tulip'.  The arrow from the CDR of the first cons cell to the
second cons cell indicates that the CDR of the first cons cell points
to the second cons cell.

The same list can be illustrated in a different sort of box notation
like this:

___ ___      ___ ___
|___|___|--> |___|___|--> nil
|            |
|            |
--> tulip    --> lily

Here is a more complex illustration, this time of the three-element
list, `((pine needles) oak maple)', the first element of which is a
two-element list:

___ ___      ___ ___      ___ ___
|___|___|--> |___|___|--> |___|___|--> nil
|            |            |
|            |            |
|             --> oak      --> maple
|
|     ___ ___      ___ ___
--> |___|___|--> |___|___|--> nil
|            |
|            |
--> pine     --> needles

The same list is represented in the first box notation like this:

--------------       --------------       --------------
| car   | cdr  |     | car   | cdr  |     | car   | cdr  |
|   o   |   o------->| oak   |   o------->| maple |  nil |
|   |   |      |     |       |      |     |       |      |
-- | ---------       --------------       --------------
|
|
|        --------------       ----------------
|       | car   | cdr  |     | car     | cdr  |
------>| pine  |   o------->| needles |  nil |
|       |      |     |         |      |
--------------       ----------------

Note: List Type, for the read and print syntax of lists, and for
more "box and arrow" illustrations of lists.

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