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Re: Predicate for true lists

From: Paul Eggert
Subject: Re: Predicate for true lists
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2018 10:20:29 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/52.8.0

Drew Adams wrote:
They both are rare, and there doesn't seem to be much
difference in their frequencies

Just looking at n-grams is not sufficient. You need to look how the terms are actually used.

I just now checked Google Books for books published in the 21st century. Searching for "proper list" (with the quotes in the search) got a significant number of relevant hits from Lispish books, with a smattering of Prolog. There were also quite a few irrelevant hits.

Searching for "true list" (again, quoted) got zero relevant hits. The "true list" hits from programming books were like this one, from page 94 of "Practical OCaml":

  # List.mem 50 example_list;;
  - : bool = true
  # List.mem 100 example_list;;
  - : bool = false

That is, these hits did not represent usage "true list" to mean a null-terminated list.

From this survey, it appears that the unanimous preference in recent published books is for "proper list" over "true list".

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