# Delete elements of a list that appear in another list

Basically I need to do a set substraction operation A-B=C between two lists. For example, I have two lists A and B:

A = {{1,2,3,4},{3,4,3,4},{1,1,1,5},{1,2,1,2},{4,3,2,1}}

B = {{1,2,1,2}, {1,2,3,4}}


and the result would be all the elements of A that do not appear in B and keeping the order of A:

C  = {{3,4,3,4},{1,1,1,5},{4,3,2,1}}


It is important to know that list B could be empty in some cases

I am also avoiding loops or recursion. Thank you all <3.

• Look up Complement. It does not retain the order in A. – Szabolcs Oct 2 '17 at 19:19
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As @Szabolcs said with no order:

Complement[A, B]


{{1, 1, 1, 5}, {3, 4, 3, 4}, {4, 3, 2, 1}}

but to keep order you can try:

DeleteCases[A, Alternatives @@ B]


{{3, 4, 3, 4}, {1, 1, 1, 5}, {4, 3, 2, 1}}

You might need too look up levelspec option for DeleteCases depending on a situation. Some other ways to keep order

Delete[A, Position[A, Alternatives @@ B]]

Select[A, ! MemberQ[B, #] &]


with perhaps a few more others.

• What about if list B is empty? – Gabriela Oct 2 '17 at 20:53
• @Gabriela did you check if these methods work with empty list? – Vitaliy Kaurov Oct 2 '17 at 21:38
• @Gabriela, the nice thing about Mathematica is that as long as you know the function to use, questions on how it would behave for a particular case can be easily tried out by doing the experiments yourself. – J. M.'s ennui Oct 2 '17 at 23:41
• @VitaliyKaurov yeah it works :D It did not work at first but was a mistake of mine, thank you so much. – Gabriela Oct 3 '17 at 2:10