Forgive my ignorance, I'm new to Mathematica/the Wolfram Language.

I'm looking for a way to apply HoldForm or some equivalent to the result of a function, as well as its arguments.

For example, I would like to modify


so that it returns 1+2+n rather than 3+n.

Using Trace on this line reveals the following.


So it appears that my arguments are being passed in unevaluated, as I had hoped, but that the result is evaluated. How can I prevent this?


I have found that using some version of Inactive doesn't quite suit my needs, at least on its face, because I would like to be able to convert the result to a string for export. From what I can tell:


returns "1 + 2 + n", which is what I need.




ToString[Inactive[Plus] @@ Sort[{n, 1, 2}]]

returns a string with the Inactive wrapper.

Is there a way to use HoldForm rather than Inactive? Or is there a way to make an inactive expression convert to a string without the wrapper?


closed as off-topic by Kuba Mar 16 '17 at 7:28

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Inactive[Plus] @@ Sort[{n, 1, 2}] $\endgroup$ – Bob Hanlon Mar 11 '17 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the comment, @Bob Hanlon. I have found that Inactive[Plus] doesn't quite suit my needs. I have modified my question to add clarification. $\endgroup$ – mm716783 Mar 11 '17 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ ToString[Plus @@ (ToString /@ Sort[{n, 1, 2}])] $\endgroup$ – Bob Hanlon Mar 11 '17 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ You can also circumvent the issue of Inactive[Plus] by replacing it afterwards: Inactive[Plus] @@ Sort[{n, 1, 2}] /. Inactive[Plus][a__] :> HoldForm[Plus[a]] $\endgroup$ – b3m2a1 Mar 12 '17 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ Do you care about preventing evaluation of n or only about 1/2 not being added up. What is really the input here? $\endgroup$ – Kuba Mar 13 '17 at 19:36

Depending on exactly what you are trying to achieve, you could replace Plus with, for example, CirclePlus

(* 1⊕2⊕n *)

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