Proposal: allow '?' and '!' in identifiers

Gregory Jorgensen gregj at
Sun Feb 25 20:10:16 CET 2001

I vote against. Don't try to change Python into Scheme or Forth or whatever. If
you find another language more expressive or elegant than Python, use that
language. I find Python expressive and elegant because it doesn't have a lot of
chaff and historical baggage.

While I'm ranting... features of programming languages aren't intuitive. Some
people may deduce the syntax easier than others, but that is experience, not
intuition. My intuition tells me that any non-alphanumeric character in a symbol
name may mean something special to the compiler; why would I think ? relates to
its English usage when _ doesn't? In the context of reading and learning Python
neither ? nor _ say anything to my intuition.

In article <3A9308FF.D07FB37F at>, Raymond Hettinger says...
>> Definitely.  I always found that convention in Scheme to be
>> very expresive and compact.  The convention of ending
>> predicates with "!" when they modified internal state was also
>> useful though perhaps not as intuitive as "?".
>These naming conventions were useful to me iin Forth and Scheme;
>however, they're ugly (IMHO).  The plain English forms are much
>more expressive and flexible without carrying the risk of confusing
>my optical lexer when I read code.
>Count my vote:  -1

Greg Jorgensen
Deschooling Society
gregj at

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