I am trying to make the following:

StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, {"A" ~~ x_ -> "B" ~~ x}]

This should replace A4 by B4 but leave A#3 untouched. How can I do that? I tried to use ? and /; with a test for whether or not the _ is a number string as follows:

StringReplace[{"A4","A#3"}, {"A" ~~ x_?StringMatchQ[x_, NumberString] -> "B" ~~ x}]

But it doesn't work. I don't know how to make the syntax work for this.


3 Answers 3


You've mixed up the usage of PatternTest (?) and Condition (/;). Here're 4 approaches, please read the document carefully to understand why they work:

StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, {"A" ~~ x_?(StringMatchQ[#, NumberString] &) :> "B" <> x}]
(* {"B4", "A#3"} *)

StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, {"A" ~~ x_?(StringMatchQ[NumberString]) :> "B" <> x}]
(* {"B4", "A#3"} *)

StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, {"A" ~~ x_ /; StringMatchQ[x, NumberString] :> "B" <> x}]
(* {"B4", "A#3"} *)

StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, {"A" ~~ x : NumberString :> "B" <> x}]
(* {"B4", "A#3"} *)


  1. Though StringExpression (~~) can be used in right hand side (RHS) of a rule, I've used StringJoin (<>) instead in code above because it's a better choice. See this and this post for more info.

  2. I've used RuleDelayed (:>) instead of Rule (->), because the RHS of rule cannot be evaluated immediately when <> is used instead of ~~.

  3. Even if ~~ is used in the RHS of rule, :> is still a better choice for your problem. Just try the following sample:

    x = 123;
    StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, {"A" ~~ x : NumberString -> "B" ~~ x}]
    (* {"B" ~~ 123, "A#3"} *)
    StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, {"A" ~~ x : NumberString :> "B" ~~ x}]
    (* {"B4", "A#3"} *)
  • $\begingroup$ When we apply (StringMatchQ[#, NumberString] &, this works like a function applied in x_? It's as if it were (StringMatchQ[x_, NumberString]? The syntax looks so weird to me, we are calling the "variable" x_ and then telling it to apply this "function" callling it something else, namely #. $\endgroup$
    – Red Banana
    Commented Mar 11 at 6:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @RedBanana Please notice ? is just a shorthand for PatternTest, so x_?(StringMatchQ[#, NumberString] &) is equivalent to PatternTest[x_, StringMatchQ[#, NumberString] &]. In other words, PatternTest is a function whose first argument is a pattern and last argument is a function relationship that will be used to test the expression matching the pattern in first argument. The design is somewhat similar to Select, NestWhile, etc., you can compare them. $\endgroup$
    – xzczd
    Commented Mar 11 at 7:08
  • $\begingroup$ @RedBanana Ah I've made an improper statement about StringExpression (~~), it can actually be used in right hand side of rule. But still, StringJoin is a better choice, see the new-added links. $\endgroup$
    – xzczd
    Commented Mar 11 at 8:24

In this case maybe consider a RegularExpression

StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, RegularExpression["(A)(\\d)"] :> "B$2"]

(* {"B4", "A#3"} *) 

Or even(!)

StringReplace[{"A4", "A#3"}, RegularExpression["(A)(\\d)"] :> 
    FromCharacterCode[ToCharacterCode["$1"] + 1] <> "$2"]

(* {"B4", "A#3"} *) 
list = {"A4", "A#3"};

Map[StringJoin, Characters[list] /. {"A", d_?DigitQ, ___} :> {"B", d}]

{"B4", "A#3"}


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