Symbol and operator reference

This article includes tables describing the symbols and operators that are used in F# and provides a brief description of each. Some symbols and operators have two or more entries when used in multiple roles.

Comment, compiler directive and attribute symbols

The following table describes symbols related to comments, compiler directives and attributes.

Symbol or operator Links Description
(*...*) Delimits a comment that could span multiple lines.
// Indicates the beginning of a single-line comment.
/// XML Documentation Indicates an XML comment.
# Compiler Directives Prefixes a preprocessor or compiler directive.
[<...>] Attributes Delimits an attribute.

String and identifier symbols

The following table describes symbols related to strings.

Symbol or operator Links Description
" Strings Delimits a text string.
@" Strings Starts a verbatim text string, which may include backslashes and other characters.
""" Strings Delimits a triple-quoted text string, which may include backslashes, double quotation marks and other characters.
$" Interpolated Strings Starts an interpolated string.
' Literals Delimits a single-character literal.
``...`` Delimits an identifier that would otherwise not be a legal identifier, such as a language keyword.
\ Strings Escapes the next character; used in character and string literals.

Arithmetic operators

The following table describes the arithmetic operators.

Symbol or operator Links Description
+ Arithmetic Operators
  • When used as a binary operator, adds the left and right sides.
  • When used as a unary operator, indicates a positive quantity. (Formally, it produces the same value with the sign unchanged.)
- Arithmetic Operators
  • When used as a binary operator, subtracts the right side from the left side.
  • When used as a unary operator, performs a negation operation.
* Arithmetic Operators

Tuples

Units of Measure
  • When used as a binary operator, multiplies the left and right sides.
  • In types, indicates pairing in a tuple.
  • Used in units of measure types.
/ Arithmetic Operators

Units of Measure
  • Divides the left side (numerator) by the right side (denominator).
  • Used in units of measure types.
% Arithmetic Operators Computes the integer remainder.
** Arithmetic Operators Computes the exponentiation operation (x ** y means x to the power of y).

Comparison operators

The following table describes the comparison operators.

Symbol or operator Links Description
< Arithmetic Operators Computes the less-than operation.
<> Arithmetic Operators Returns true if the left side is not equal to the right side; otherwise, returns false.
<= Arithmetic Operators Returns true if the left side is less than or equal to the right side; otherwise, returns false.
= Arithmetic Operators Returns true if the left side is equal to the right side; otherwise, returns false.
> Arithmetic Operators Returns true if the left side is greater than the right side; otherwise, returns false.
>= Arithmetic Operators Returns true if the left side is greater than or equal to the right side; otherwise, returns false.

Boolean operators

The following table describes the arithmetic and boolean operators symbols.

Symbol or operator Links Description
&& Boolean Operators Computes the Boolean AND operation.
|| Boolean Operators Computes the Boolean OR operation.

Bitwise operators

The following table describes bitwise operators.

Symbol or operator Links Description
&&& Bitwise Operators Computes the bitwise AND operation.
<<< Bitwise Operators Shifts bits in the quantity on the left side to the left by the number of bits specified on the right side.
>>> Bitwise Operators Shifts bits in the quantity on the left side to the right by the number of places specified on the right side.
^^^ Bitwise Operators Computes the bitwise exclusive OR operation.
||| Bitwise Operators Computes the bitwise OR operation.
~~~ Bitwise Operators Computes the bitwise NOT operation.

Function symbols and operators

The following table describes the operators and symbols related to functions.

Symbol or operator Links Description
-> Functions In function expressions, separates the input pattern from the output expression.
|> Functions Passes the result of the left side to the function on the right side (forward pipe operator).
||> ( ||> )<'T1,'T2,'U> Function Passes the tuple of two arguments on the left side to the function on the right side.
|||> ( |||> )<'T1,'T2,'T3,'U> Function Passes the tuple of three arguments on the left side to the function on the right side.
>> Functions Composes two functions (forward composition operator).
<< Functions Composes two functions in reverse order; the second one is executed first (backward composition operator).
<| Functions Passes the result of the expression on the right side to the function on left side (backward pipe operator).
<|| ( <|| )<'T1,'T2,'U> Function Passes the tuple of two arguments on the right side to the function on left side.
<||| ( <||| )<'T1,'T2,'T3,'U> Function Passes the tuple of three arguments on the right side to the function on left side.

Type symbols and operators

The following table describes symbols related to type annotation and type tests.

Symbol or operator Links Description
-> Functions In function types, delimits arguments and return values, also yields a result in sequence expressions.
: Functions In a type annotation, separates a parameter or member name from its type.
:> Casting and Conversions Converts a type to type that is higher in the hierarchy.
:? Match Expressions Returns true if the value matches the specified type (including if it is a subtype); otherwise, returns false (type test operator).
:?> Casting and Conversions Converts a type to a type that is lower in the hierarchy.
# Flexible Types When used with a type, indicates a flexible type, which refers to a type or any one of its derived types.
' Automatic Generalization Indicates a generic type parameter.
<...> Automatic Generalization Delimits type parameters.
^ Statically Resolved Type Parameters

Strings
  • Specifies type parameters that must be resolved at compile time, not at run time.
  • Concatenates strings.
{} Class or Record When used with the type keyword, delimits a class or record. The type is a class when members are declared or the class keyword is used. Otherwise, it's a record.
{||} Anonymous record Denotes an anonymous record

Symbols used in member lookup and slice expressions

The following table describes additional symbols used in member lookup and slice expressions.

Symbol or operator Links Description
. Members Accesses a member, and separates individual names in a fully qualified name.
[...] or .[...] Arrays

Indexed Properties

Slice Expressions
Indexes into an array, string or collection, or takes a slice of a collection.

Symbols used in tuple, list, array, unit expressions and patterns

The following table describes symbols related to tuples, lists, unit values and arrays.

Symbol or operator Links Description
( ) Unit Type Represents the single value of the unit type.
, Tuples Separates the elements of a tuple, or type parameters.
:: Lists

Match Expressions
  • Creates a list. The element on the left side is prepended to the list on the right side.
  • Used in pattern matching to separate the parts of a list.
@ Lists Concatenates two lists.
[...] Lists Delimits the elements of a list.
[|...|] Arrays Delimits the elements of an array.

Symbols used in imperative expressions

The following table describes additional symbols used in expressions.

Symbol or operator Links Description
<- Values Assigns a value to a variable.
; Verbose Syntax

Separates expressions (used mostly in verbose syntax). Also separates elements of a list or fields of a record.

Additional symbols used in sequences and computation expressions

The following table describes additional symbols used in Sequences and Computation Expressions.

Symbol or operator Links Description
-> Sequences Yields an expression (in sequence expressions); equivalent to the do yield keywords.
! Computation Expressions After a keyword, indicates a modified version of the keyword's behavior as controlled by a computation expression.

Additional symbols used in match patterns

The following table describes symbols related to pattern matching.

Symbol or operator Links Description
-> Match Expressions Used in match expressions.
& Match Expressions
  • Computes the address of a mutable value, for use when interoperating with other languages.
  • Used in AND patterns.
_ Match Expressions

Generics
  • Indicates a wildcard pattern.
  • Specifies an anonymous generic parameter.
| Match Expressions Delimits individual match cases, individual discriminated union cases, and enumeration values.

Additional symbols used in declarations

The following table describes symbols related to declarations.

Symbol or operator Links Description
(|...|) Active Patterns Delimits an active pattern name. Also called banana clips.
? Parameters and Arguments Specifies an optional argument.
~~ Operator Overloading Used to declare an overload for the unary negation operator.
~- Operator Overloading Used to declare an overload for the unary minus operator.
~+ Operator Overloading Used to declare an overload for the unary plus operator.

Additional symbols used in quotations

The following table describes symbols related to Code Quotations.

Symbol or operator Links Description
<@...@> Code Quotations Delimits a typed code quotation.
<@@...@@> Code Quotations Delimits an untyped code quotation.
% Code Quotations Used for splicing expressions into typed code quotations.
%% Code Quotations Used for splicing expressions into untyped code quotations.

Dynamic lookup operators

The following table describes additional symbols used in dynamic lookup expressions. They are not generally used in routine F# programming and no implementations of these operator are provided in the F# core library.

Symbol or operator Links Description
? Used as an operator for dynamic method and property calls.
? ... <- ... Used as an operator for setting dynamic properties.

Nullable operators in queries

Nullable Operators are defined for use in Query Expressions. The following table shows these operators.

Symbol or operator Links Description
%? Nullable Operators Computes the integer remainder, when the right side is a nullable type.
*? Nullable Operators Multiplies the left and right sides, when the right side is a nullable type.
+? Nullable Operators Adds the left and right sides, when the right side is a nullable type.
-? Nullable Operators Subtracts the right side from the left side, when the right side is a nullable type.
/? Nullable Operators Divides the left side by the right side, when the right side is a nullable type.
<? Nullable Operators Computes the less than operation, when the right side is a nullable type.
<>? Nullable Operators Computes the "not equal" operation when the right side is a nullable type.
<=? Nullable Operators Computes the "less than or equal to" operation when the right side is a nullable type.
=? Nullable Operators Computes the "equal" operation when the right side is a nullable type.
>? Nullable Operators Computes the "greater than" operation when the right side is a nullable type.
>=? Nullable Operators Computes the "greater than or equal" operation when the right side is a nullable type.
?>=, ?>, ?<=, ?<, ?=, ?<>, ?+, ?-, ?*, ?/ Nullable Operators Equivalent to the corresponding operators without the ? prefix, where a nullable type is on the left.
>=?, >?, <=?, <?, =?, <>?, +?, -?, *?, /? Nullable Operators Equivalent to the corresponding operators without the ? suffix, where a nullable type is on the right.
?>=?, ?>?, ?<=?, ?<?, ?=?, ?<>?, ?+?, ?-?, ?*?, ?/? Nullable Operators Equivalent to the corresponding operators without the surrounding question marks, where both sides are nullable types.

Reference cell operators (deprecated)

The following table describes symbols related to Reference Cells. The use of these operators generates advisory messages as of F# 6. For more information, see Reference cell operation advisory messages.

Symbol or operator Links Description
! Reference Cells Dereferences a reference cell.
:= Reference Cells Assigns a value to a reference cell.

Operator precedence

The following table shows the order of precedence of operators and other expression keywords in F#, in order from lowest precedence to the highest precedence. Also listed is the associativity, if applicable.

Operator Associativity
as Right
when Right
| (pipe) Left
; Right
let Nonassociative
function, fun, match, try Nonassociative
if Nonassociative
not Right
-> Right
:= Right
, Nonassociative
or, || Left
&, && Left
:>, :?> Right
<op, >op, =, |op, &op, &, $

(including <<<, >>>, |||, &&&)
Left
^op

(including ^^^)
Right
:: Right
:? Not associative
-op, +op Applies to infix uses of these symbols
*op, /op, %op Left
**op Right
f x (function application)

(including lazy x, assert x)
Left
| (pattern match) Right
prefix operators (+op, -op, %, %%, &, &&, !op, ~op) Left
. Left
f(x) Left
f<types> Left

F# supports custom operator overloading. This means that you can define your own operators. In the previous table, op can be any valid (possibly empty) sequence of operator characters, either built-in or user-defined. Thus, you can use this table to determine what sequence of characters to use for a custom operator to achieve the desired level of precedence. Leading . characters are ignored when the compiler determines precedence.

See also