I'm trying to learn stuff from pattern matching but I found sometimes pattern matching does not work as I expected. Could anyone explain why the below outputs are not same? Thank you.

And could anyone also explain why the upvalue setting of b and c cannot use as pattern matching as in my last three codes?

My output on two examples

Clear[a, b, c, g4, g5]
g4[x_^y_, z_] := u[x, y, v[z]] /; {IntegerQ[y], IntegerQ[z]};
g5[x_^y_Integer, z_Integer] := u[x, y, v[z]];
g4[a^3, 2]
g5[a^3, 2]
g4[a^3, c]
g5[a^3, c]
IntegerQ[b] ^= True; IntegerQ[c] ^= True;
g4[a^b, c]
g5[a^b, c]

1 Answer 1


For g4, your condition doesn't evaluate to True or False. Specifically, {IntegerQ[y], IntegerQ[z]} will always evaluate to a pair of booleans, which won't ever actually be equal to True and so that "condition" won't ever be satisfied. You could do something like this instead:

g4[x_^y_, z_] := u[x, y, v[z]] /; And[IntegerQ[y], IntegerQ[z]]

As for the UpSet question, once you fix the condition on g4 and evaluate the UpSet definitions of IntegerQ for b and c, then g4[a^b, c] will evaluate as you expect (u[a, b, v[c]]). However g5[a^b, c] will remain unevaluated, because pattern matching and conditions are different mechanisms that aren't logically interchangeable. But if you had a g6 defined like this:

g6[x_^y_?IntegerQ, z_?IntegerQ] := u[x, y, v[z]]

then g6[a^b, c] would evaluate to u[a, b, v[c]] (again assuming the UpSets for IntegerQ).

A bit more explanation. A pattern like y_Integer matches when the Head of whatever is bound to y is Integer. So, for example,

g5[foo^Integer[bar], Integer[blah]]

will evaluate to

u[foo, Integer[bar], v[Integer[blah]]]

However, even with the corrected condition,

g4[foo^Integer[bar], Integer[blah]]

will evaluate to

g4[foo^Integer[bar], Integer[blah]]

because IntegerQ[Integer[bar]] is False.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi lericr, I really appreciate your explanation which makes a lot of sense to me. I also tried to define something like g4[x_^y_, z_] := u[x, y, v[z]] /; IntegerQ[y] /; IntegerQ[z]; This one gives same result as your g4 using And function. Are they same thing by any chance? :) $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Nov 18, 2023 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ They aren't the same structurally. Your version is a nested Condition, and mine is a single Condition. But logically they would be equivalent. $\endgroup$
    – lericr
    Nov 18, 2023 at 17:11
  • $\begingroup$ Okay glad to learn all this! The signs in MMA can sometimes be confusing but it is really a good start for me. I'm grateful for your time and help lericr! $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Nov 18, 2023 at 17:22

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