Pattern-matching examples

The following examples demonstrate different features of the pattern-matching syntax, and particular behaviours that might not be immediately obvious.

In the following, the Use commutativity and Use associativity modes are enabled, and Allow other terms is disabled, unless otherwise specified.

Match exactly the expression 1+2:

1 + 2

If commutativity is enabled, 2 + 1 will also match this pattern. Whitespace and brackets are ignored when they don’t change the meaning of the expression, so 1+2, 1  + 2 and (1)+(2) all match this pattern.

Any power of 2:


Forbid decimals anywhere (so only allow integers):


A sum consisting of any number of fractions, all over the same denominator, which is captured as d:

(`+-( $n/($n;=d) ))`* + $z

Ensure that there are no unexpanded brackets:

`! m_anywhere(?*(? + ?`+))

The sum of two positive integers:

positive:$n + positive:$n

A product of at least two factors, where no factor is numerically equal to 1:

    all(map(not numerical_compare(x,expression("1")),x,factors))

This is a fairly cheap way of checking that a number or expression has been decomposed into factors (assuming it’s not already irreducible). Note that it doesn’t check that the expression has been fully factorised: for example, 4*6 matches this pattern.

Complete the square:


A number of the form \(a \cdot e^{\theta i}\), where the coefficient \(a\) is optional, and the power can be any multiple or fraction of \(i\):

($n`? `: 1)*e^(((`*/ `+- $n)`*;x)*i)

The following expressions all match this pattern: e^i, 2e^(pi*i), e^(i * 2/3 pi).

A complex number in the form \(a + ib\), allowing for either the real or imaginary part to be omitted, and zero by default. The real part is captured as re and the imaginary part as im:

((`+-real:$n)`? `: 0);re + ((`+-i*real:$n`?)`? `: 0);im

A polynomial with integer coefficients:

`+- ((`*/ $n)`*  * ($v);=base^?`? `| $n/$n`?)`* + $z

The base of the polynomial is captured as base.

A fraction with rational denominator: disallow square roots or non-integer powers in the denominator:

`+- ? / (`!m_anywhere(sqrt(?) `| ?^(`! `+-integer:$n)))

A sum of fractions, where no denominator is numerically equivalent to 1 and no numerator is numerically equivalent to 0:

m_nogather(m_gather(`+- (?;tops/?;bottoms));fractions`* + $z)
    and all(map(not numerical_compare(x,expression("1")),x,bottoms))
    and all(map(not numerical_compare(x,expression("0")),x,tops))

This pattern could be used to establish that a student has decomposed an expression into partial fractions.