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This is a good point, and it's one of the things I don't like about Lisp. You can't know the semantics of evaluation without memorizing each form or having a doc handy. The code at the call site itself is not enough.



Interestingly, that's similar to the criticism often levied at operator overloading in C++.


Similar, but different. Operator overloading doesn't affect evaluation. You know immediately what is being evaluation now and what isn't, not so in Lisp, and this matters a great deal.




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