I have a function that need to be summed over all parameters given in a separate list.

f[x_,y_,z_,n_,i_]:= (*Some function*);

I need to create another function that should look like:

g[x_,y_,z_]:=f[x,y,z,n1,i1] + f[x,y,z,n2,i2] + ...;

for any matching input of list. Is there any way to do it elegantly? I'm thinking about extracting the expression that I typed for f and store it as String then replace the n and i for each pairs in list.

Subquestion: Is there any way to extract the expression from given input?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Total[f[x, y, z, ##] & @@@ list] ought to work. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ That works. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Hima
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 18:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For the subquestion: not sure what you mean but if you want to prevent the argument of a function from being evaluated (so the expression is passed to the function in its original form), use something like SetAttributes[g, HoldAll]. But in your questions the only "expression" I see is in list, and Lists of that type aren't evaluated anyway, so you'd have to specify what expression/input you mean. $\endgroup$
    – Jens
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


The key here is to understand the Apply operator. There we want to apply f at level 1 to the list. Therefore, like Guess who it is suggested we can first apply the function f[x, y, z, ##] where ## gets filled in from your list because of the the @@@. Then Total adds up all the functions.

Total[f[x, y, z, ##] & @@@ list]
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is actually f that gets applied to level 1; that is, all the heads at level 1 (List) are changed to f. Total is equivalent to replacing the head at level 0 with Plus. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for catching this. Answer is updated to reflect your comment. $\endgroup$
    – olliepower
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 21:41

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