PEP 312 - Making lambdas implicit worries me, surely it's just the name 'lambda' that is bad...

Stephen Horne intentionally at
Fri Mar 14 02:25:48 CET 2003

On Thu, 13 Mar 2003 11:54:55 GMT, Alex Martelli <aleax at>

>I don't see the relevance of this whole discussion to anything, either.
>In particular, if somebody's trying to assert something about keywords,
>whether that assertion be well-founded or not, your counter-assertions
>about tokens that are NOT keywords has no possible relevance that I
>can see.

I missed this when I replied before (mainly because I was too busy
feeling stupid for overreacting) but I would like to explain...

What Jack was asserting was not just that lambda is a long keyword
that is (almost) always in the middle of a line. His intention was to
assert that this property is responsible for making the word 'lambda'
"jar the eyes".

To me, it seems absurd that the ugliness of a word could be a function
of whether it happens to be a keyword or some other kind of word. The
distinction between keywords and identifiers has no relevance to how
jarring something is when you read it.

That was the point of my counter-argument, but it would have no
relevance if there were no other long words which always appear in the
middle of a line.

That is why the counter-assertion about other tokens was relevant - to
establish that long words which always appear in the middle of lines
are not always considered ugly, and thus that the question of whether
or not keywords and other tokens should be distinguished in this

That is why I said, right in my first post, "What is the relevance of
the distinction between keywords and standard identifiers in this

BTW - on the 'never'/'rarely' issue - there is a term "relative
absolute" which with a simple play on words expresses the fact that it
is perfectly valid to use 'absolute' words as extreme relatives.
Superlatives are, quite simply, not always *strictly* superlative.
It's all part of the subjectivity of natural language, and one of the
reasons context can be so important - not to mention, where relevant,
redundancy (in the error detection and correction sense).

Knowledge of these kinds of things is only really useful if you want
to out-pedant a language pedant, of course ;-)

Jacks use of a "relative absolute" isn't an issue to me - the meaning
was clear enough and, even if it wasn't, the never/rarely distinction
is about as relevant as (in my mind) the
keyword/built-in-function-name distinction. Clarification would have
been a waste of time.

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