This section is a short review and overview of the quote function (more commonly seen as ') and its functionalities to help you prep for the next section, calc.rkt.


We have used quotation ' as a shortcut to create words and sentences since the beginning of this class. The example below should be painstakingly simple to understand:

> (define a 3)

> a

> 'a

The use of a single quote is actually a shortcut - 'a is equivalent to (quote a). Similarly, '(a 1 b 2) is equivalent to (quote (a 1 b 2))

Test Your Understanding

The function quote (') is a special form.

Predicates and Quotes

To check for equality, we can use the primitive eq?

> (eq? 'a 'a)
> (eq? 'a 'b)
> (eq? 'a (first 'afro))

Another useful primitive for handling symbols/quotes is memq. memq takes two arguments, a symbol and a list. If the symbol is not contained in the list (i.e., it is not eq? to any item in the list), then memq returns false. Otherwise, it returns the sublist of the list beginning with the first occurrence of the symbol:

>(memq 'apple '(banana raspberry windows android))
>(memq 'apple '(banana raspberry windows apple android))
(apple android)
>(memq 'apple '(banana raspberry windows (apple android))

Note that the last example returns #f because (eq? 'apple '(apple android)) returns #f. Thus, memq does not work on deep lists.

You can implement memq with the following definition:

(define (memq item x)
  (cond ((null? x) false)
        ((eq? item (car x)) x)
        (else (memq item (cdr x)))))
Test Your Understanding

What do the following expressions return?
(memq 'everything '(sugar spice (everything nice)))
(memq 'chicken '(cow chicken cow and chicken))

What Will Racket Print?

For each of the following expressions, predict what Racket will print without using the interpreter. Then, use the interpreter to check your answers.

* `(list 'a 'b 'c)`
* `(list (list 'george))`
* `(cdr '((x1 x2) (y1 y2)))`
* `(cadr '((x1 x2) (y1 y2))`
* `(pair? (car '(a short list)))`
* `(memq 'red '((red shoes) (blue socks)))`
* `(memq 'red '(red shoes blue socks))`


In this subsection, you learned:

  • 'hi is a shorcut for (quote hi).
  • memq is a predicate that determines whether a symbol is in a list.