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An Argument as the Value of a Variable or List

An argument can be a symbol that returns a value when it is evaluated. For example, when the symbol  fill-column by itself is evaluated, it returns a number. This number can be used in an addition. Position the cursor after the following expression and type C-x C-e:

(+ 2 fill-column)

The value will be a number two more than what you get by evaluating  fill-column alone. For me, this is 74, because the value of  fill-column is 72.

As we have just seen, an argument can be a symbol that returns a value when evaluated. In addition, an argument can be a list that returns a value when it is evaluated. For example, in the following expression, the arguments to the function  concat are the strings  "The " and  " red foxes." and the list  (+ 2 fill-column) .

(concat "The " (+ 2 fill-column) " red foxes.")

If you evaluate this expression,  "The 74 red foxes." will appear in the echo area. (Note that you must put spaces after the word `The' and before the word `red' so they will appear in the final string.)

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