Haskell Language Higher-order functions Currying


Example

In Haskell, all functions are considered curried: that is, all functions in Haskell take just one argument.

Let's take the function div:

div :: Int -> Int -> Int

If we call this function with 6 and 2 we unsurprisingly get 3:

Prelude> div 6 2
3

However, this doesn't quite behave in the way we might think. First div 6 is evaluated and returns a function of type Int -> Int. This resulting function is then applied to the value 2 which yields 3.

When we look at the type signature of a function, we can shift our thinking from "takes two arguments of type Int" to "takes one Int and returns a function that takes an Int". This is reaffirmed if we consider that arrows in the type notation associate to the right, so div can in fact be read thus:

div :: Int -> (Int -> Int)

In general, most programmers can ignore this behaviour at least while they're learning the language. From a theoretical point of view, "formal proofs are easier when all functions are treated uniformly (one argument in, one result out)."