Let's say I've got a list of procedures:

{Print[1];, Print[2];, Print[3];}

And I want to only evaluate 3rd one:

{Print[1];, Print[2];, Print[3];}[[3]]
1... 2... 3...

Well, that's not what I've wanted, the walkaround would be to use Hold:

Hold[{Print[1];, Print[2];, Print[3];}][[ 1, 3]]

My question is: is there more "proper" way to do this?

p.s. the most tidy what I thought of is Switch:

 1, Print[1],
 2, Print[2],
 3, Print[3] ]
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Since Part doesn't have attribute HoldAll, you either 1) wrap the commands in Hold or Unevaluated, 2) redefine Part, or 3) add via UpSet a new definition to Part to handle held input (wrapped in e.g. hold) differently. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


You can define a new function with attribute HoldAll, but I don't think you can avoid using Unevaluated or Hold.

Attributes[holdChoice] = {HoldAll};
holdChoice[cases__, n_] := (Unevaluated@{cases})[[n]];

holdChoice[Print[1]; 11, Print[2]; 22, Print[3]; 33, 2]
During evaluation of In[21]:= 2

Out[23]= 22
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I was aware of the Attributes. This is the way too. I'm just thinking if I don't miss anything. I mean, I want to avoid reinventing the solution which might be there. Switch seems to be ok but there is unecessary 1, 2... for each case :) too much work ;P $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 8:21

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