Mathematica v13.0:


then evaluate

In[29]:= nr
During evaluation of In[29]:= Function::fpct: Too many parameters in {t} to be filled from Function[t,x[t]][].
Out[29]= Function[t,x[t]][]

Strangely, reevaluation does not reproduce the error message:

In[30]:= nr
Out[30]= Function[t,x[t]][]

although reevaluating Function[t,x[t]][] reproduces the error message, hence SetDelayed is responsible for the non reproduction of the error message and more precisely it must be caching something.

Same problem with nr:=HoldForm@Evaluate@Transpose@{{1},{1,2}}.

However, no problem with nr:=HoldForm@Evaluate[1/0] and nr:=HoldForm@Evaluate[n:=n+1;n].

What is going on? How to always obtain an error message at each evaluation?

  • $\begingroup$ This is cheating but produces an error every time: nr := ToExpression["Function[t,x@t][]"] $\endgroup$
    – Roman
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


We can cause the message to appear every time by calling Update[] in the body of the definition:

nr := (Update[]; HoldForm@Evaluate@Function[t, x@t][])

example showing that the message occurs every call


It would appear that this is one of those "special circumstances" referred to in the documentation of Update:

Update manipulates internal optimization features of the Wolfram Language. It should not need to be called except under special circumstances that rarely occur in practice.

In support of this conjecture, a call to Update will cause the message to recur:

use of Update[] to clear an internal cache

Interestingly, the internal cache does not appear to be associated with the symbol nr. Rather, it is associated with Function:

updating nr does not clear the cache

(note: Unevaluated[nr] is necessary because Update does not hold its arguments and nr has an own-value.)

We can reproduce this behaviour even in the absence of the special evaluation rules that apply to HoldForm, Evaluated and Function:

simpler example

  • $\begingroup$ I did not know about Update, great trick. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 14, 2022 at 15:38

This behavior can be obtained with any defined function, when the right hand side of its definition is not used. A minimal example:

function::fpct:="function error"

then try nr:=HoldForm@Evaluate@function[];nr;nr (only one error message).

It can also be forced on any function by caching like this: nr:=(nr=HoldForm@Evaluate[1/0]);nr;nr (only one error message) as opposed to nr:=HoldForm@Evaluate[1/0];nr;nr (two error messages).

To always obtain an error message, one could try something like:

function::fpct:="function error"

now with nr:=HoldForm@Evaluate@function[], nr produces at least one error message at each evaluation.

Actually, the first evaluation of nr produces TWO error messages.

Independently of nr, the first evaluation of function[] produces two errors messages but the reevaluation produces only one error message.

Double error message at first evaluation can be avoided like this:

function::fpct:="function error"

but this method may lead to further problems, related to the variable firstRun or the redefinition of Wolfram language proper functions like Function, Transpose.


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