# Notations and Precedence

The most basic syntax extension commands allow introducing new (or overloading existing) prefix, infix, and postfix operators.

```
infixl:65 " + " => HAdd.hAdd -- left-associative
infix:50 " = " => Eq -- non-associative
infixr:80 " ^ " => HPow.hPow -- right-associative
prefix:75 "-" => Neg.neg
set_option quotPrecheck false
postfix:max "⁻¹" => Inv.inv
```

After the initial command name describing the operator kind (its
"fixity"), we give the *parsing precedence* of the operator preceded
by a colon `:`

, then a new or existing token surrounded by double
quotes (the whitespace is used for pretty printing), then the function
this operator should be translated to after the arrow `=>`

.

The precedence is a natural number describing how "tightly" an operator binds to its arguments, encoding the order of operations. We can make this more precise by looking at what the commands above unfold to:

```
notation:65 lhs:65 " + " rhs:66 => HAdd.hAdd lhs rhs
notation:50 lhs:51 " = " rhs:51 => Eq lhs rhs
notation:80 lhs:81 " ^ " rhs:80 => HPow.hPow lhs rhs
notation:75 "-" arg:75 => Neg.neg arg
set_option quotPrecheck false
notation:1024 arg:1024 "⁻¹" => Inv.inv arg -- `max` is a shorthand for precedence 1024
```

It turns out that all commands from the first code block are in fact
command *macros* translating to the more general `notation`

command.
We will learn about writing such macros below. Instead of a single
token, the `notation`

command accepts a mixed sequence of tokens and
named term placeholders with precedences, which can be referenced on
the right-hand side of `=>`

and will be replaced by the respective
term parsed at that position. A placeholder with precedence `p`

accepts only notations with precedence at least `p`

in that place.
Thus the string `a + b + c`

cannot be parsed as the equivalent of `a + (b + c)`

because the right-hand side operand of an `infixl`

notation
has precedence one greater than the notation itself. In contrast,
`infixr`

reuses the notation's precedence for the right-hand side
operand, so `a ^ b ^ c`

*can* be parsed as `a ^ (b ^ c)`

. Note that if
we used `notation`

directly to introduce an infix notation like

```
set_option quotPrecheck false
notation:65 lhs:65 " ~ " rhs:65 => wobble lhs rhs
```

where the precedences do not sufficiently determine associativity,
Lean's parser will default to right associativity. More precisely,
Lean's parser follows a local *longest parse* rule in the presence of
ambiguous grammars: when parsing the right-hand side of `a ~`

in `a ~ b ~ c`

, it will continue parsing as long as possible (as the current
precedence allows), not stopping after `b`

but parsing `~ c`

as well.
Thus the term is equivalent to `a ~ (b ~ c)`

.

As mentioned above, the `notation`

command allows us to define
arbitrary *mixfix* syntax freely mixing tokens and placeholders.

```
set_option quotPrecheck false
notation:max "(" e ")" => e
notation:10 Γ " ⊢ " e " : " τ => Typing Γ e τ
```

Placeholders without precedence default to `0`

, i.e. they accept
notations of any precedence in their place. If two notations overlap,
we again apply the longest parse rule:

```
notation:65 a " + " b:66 " + " c:66 => a + b - c
#eval 1 + 2 + 3 -- 0
```

The new notation is preferred to the binary notation since the latter,
before chaining, would stop parsing after `1 + 2`

. If there are
multiple notations accepting the same longest parse, the choice will
be delayed until elaboration, which will fail unless exactly one
overload is type correct.