This video is available to students only

What is Syntaxlessness? How to Write More Expressive Code

C-style languages invisibly impose a syntax, whereas Lisps do not. This makes Lisps more expressive and easier to grasp.


There is no such word as "syntaxlessness". We had to make it up to showcase that Lisps don't have a syntax.

You might be wondering, "But Shivek, we just studied Clojure's syntax in the last lesson, and now you say that Lisps don't have a syntax!?" We know that our statement sounds a little odd, but it will make sense by the end of this lesson.

In a C-family language like JavaScript, the following conditional is common:

The equivalent Clojure version of this conditional will look something like:

The if function expects three elements in a list: the condition, the truthy block, and the falsy block.

Notice how if and > are just functions, unlike in C-style languages, where if, else and > are a part of the syntax.


Since Clojure is a functional language and there is no syntax in the sense of C-style languages, Clojure code is more expressive and concise.

The example that we started with can be re-written as:


This page is a preview of Tinycanva: Clojure for React Developers

Start a new discussion. All notification go to the author.