(bison.info)Contextual Precedence

Next: Parser States Prev: Precedence Up: Algorithm

Context-Dependent Precedence

   Often the precedence of an operator depends on the context.  This
sounds outlandish at first, but it is really very common.  For example,
a minus sign typically has a very high precedence as a unary operator,
and a somewhat lower precedence (lower than multiplication) as a binary

   The Bison precedence declarations, `%left', `%right' and
`%nonassoc', can only be used once for a given token; so a token has
only one precedence declared in this way.  For context-dependent
precedence, you need to use an additional mechanism: the `%prec'
modifier for rules.

   The `%prec' modifier declares the precedence of a particular rule by
specifying a terminal symbol whose precedence should be used for that
rule.  It's not necessary for that symbol to appear otherwise in the
rule.  The modifier's syntax is:


and it is written after the components of the rule.  Its effect is to
assign the rule the precedence of TERMINAL-SYMBOL, overriding the
precedence that would be deduced for it in the ordinary way.  The
altered rule precedence then affects how conflicts involving that rule
are resolved (Note: Operator Precedence.).

   Here is how `%prec' solves the problem of unary minus.  First,
declare a precedence for a fictitious terminal symbol named `UMINUS'.
There are no tokens of this type, but the symbol serves to stand for its

     %left '+' '-'
     %left '*'
     %left UMINUS

   Now the precedence of `UMINUS' can be used in specific rules:

     exp:    ...
             | exp '-' exp
             | '-' exp %prec UMINUS

automatically generated by info version 1.5

Dirfile and infopages generated Sat Dec 3 02:07:54 2005