[erlang-questions] passing a function to lists:map

Kostis Sagonas <>
Mon Mar 22 13:34:44 CET 2010

Martin DeMello wrote:
> ta(X) when is_list(X)    -> list_to_atom(X);
> ta(X) when is_tuple(X)   -> tuple_to_list(X);
> ta(X) when is_integer(X) -> X.
> % this doesn't work
> atomize(List) -> lists:map(ta, List).
> % this does
> atomize(List) -> lists:map(fun(X) -> ta(X) end, List).
> What's the difference? Have I just got the syntax wrong, or is there
> some fundamental reason I need the second version?

There is a very fundamental reason.  In Erlang 'ta' is just an atom; it 
does not have a function type as it does in e.g. ML or Haskell. 
Functions in Erlang do not only have a name but also an arity (*) hence 
the need to use the "fun ta/1" construct there, as many have mentioned.


(*) for example in Erlang it is possible to have two functions with the
     same name but different arities.

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