Chapter 11  The SSReflect proof language

Georges Gonthier, Assia Mahboubi, Enrico Tassi

11.1  Introduction

This chapter describes a set of tactics known as SSReflect originally designed to provide support for the so-called small scale reflection proof methodology. Despite the original purpose this set of tactic is of general interest and is available in Coq starting from version 8.7.

SSReflect was developed independently of the tactics described in Chapter 8. Indeed the scope of the tactics part of SSReflect largely overlaps with the standard set of tactics. Eventually the overlap will be reduced in future releases of Coq.

Proofs written in SSReflect typically look quite different from the ones written using only tactics as per Chapter 8. We try to summarise here the most “visible” ones in order to help the reader already accustomed to the tactics described in Chapter 8 to read this chapter.

The first difference between the tactics described in this chapter and the tactics described in Chapter 8 is the way hypotheses are managed (we call this bookkeeping). In Chapter 8 the most common approach is to avoid moving explicitly hypotheses back and forth between the context and the conclusion of the goal. On the contrary in SSReflect all bookkeeping is performed on the conclusion of the goal, using for that purpose a couple of syntactic constructions behaving similar to tacticals (and often named as such in this chapter). The : tactical moves hypotheses from the context to the conclusion, while => moves hypotheses from the conclusion to the context, and in moves back and forth an hypothesis from the context to the conclusion for the time of applying an action to it.

While naming hypotheses is commonly done by means of an as clause in the basic model of Chapter 8, it is here to => that this task is devoted. As tactics leave new assumptions in the conclusion, and are often followed by => to explicitly name them. While generalizing the goal is normally not explicitly needed in Chapter 8, it is an explicit operation performed by :.

Beside the difference of bookkeeping model, this chapter includes specific tactics which have no explicit counterpart in Chapter 8 such as tactics to mix forward steps and generalizations as generally have or without loss.

SSReflect adopts the point of view that rewriting, definition expansion and partial evaluation participate all to a same concept of rewriting a goal in a larger sense. As such, all these functionalities are provided by the rewrite tactic.

SSReflect includes a little language of patterns to select subterms in tactics or tacticals where it matters. Its most notable application is in the rewrite tactic, where patterns are used to specify where the rewriting step has to take place.

Finally, SSReflect supports so-called reflection steps, typically allowing to switch back and forth between the computational view and logical view of a concept.

To conclude it is worth mentioning that SSReflect tactics can be mixed with non SSReflect tactics in the same proof, or in the same Ltac expression. The few exceptions to this statement are described in section 11.2.2.


The authors would like to thank Frédéric Blanqui, François Pottier and Laurence Rideau for their comments and suggestions.

11.2  Usage

11.2.1  Getting started

To be available, the tactics presented in this manual need the following minimal set of libraries to loaded: ssreflect.v, ssrfun.v and ssrbool.v. Moreover, these tactics come with a methodology specific to the authors of Ssreflect and which requires a few options to be set in a different way than in their default way. All in all, this corresponds to working in the following context:

From Coq Require Import ssreflect ssrfun ssrbool. Set Implicit Arguments. Unset Strict Implicit. Unset Printing Implicit Defensive.

11.2.2  Compatibility issues

Requiring the above modules creates an environment which is mostly compatible with the rest of Coq, up to a few discrepancies:

11.3  Gallina extensions

Small-scale reflection makes an extensive use of the programming subset of Gallina, Coq’s logical specification language. This subset is quite suited to the description of functions on representations, because it closely follows the well-established design of the ML programming language. The SSReflect extension provides three additions to Gallina, for pattern assignment, pattern testing, and polymorphism; these mitigate minor but annoying discrepancies between Gallina and ML.

11.3.1  Pattern assignment

The SSReflect extension provides the following construct for irrefutable pattern matching, that is, destructuring assignment:

let: pattern := term1 in term2

Note the colon ‘:’ after the let keyword, which avoids any ambiguity with a function definition or Coq’s basic destructuring let. The let: construct differs from the latter in that

The let: construct is just (more legible) notation for the primitive Gallina expression

match term1 with pattern => term2 end

The SSReflect destructuring assignment supports all the dependent match annotations; the full syntax is

let: pattern1 as ident in pattern2 := term1 return term2 in term3

where pattern2 is a type pattern and term1 and term2 are types.

When the as and return are both present, then ident is bound in both the type term2 and the expression term3; variables in the optional type pattern pattern2 are bound only in the type term2, and other variables in pattern1 are bound only in the expression term3, however.

11.3.2  Pattern conditional

The following construct can be used for a refutable pattern matching, that is, pattern testing:

if term1 is pattern1 then term2 else term3

Although this construct is not strictly ML (it does exits in variants such as the pattern calculus or the ρ-calculus), it turns out to be very convenient for writing functions on representations, because most such functions manipulate simple datatypes such as Peano integers, options, lists, or binary trees, and the pattern conditional above is almost always the right construct for analyzing such simple types. For example, the null and all list function(al)s can be defined as follows:

Variable d: Set. Fixpoint null (s : list d) := if s is nil then true else false. Variable a : d -> bool. Fixpoint all (s : list d) : bool := if s is cons x s' then a x && all s' else true.

The pattern conditional also provides a notation for destructuring assignment with a refutable pattern, adapted to the pure functional setting of Gallina, which lacks a
Match_Failure exception.

Like let: above, the ifis construct is just (more legible) notation for the primitive Gallina expression:

match term1 with pattern => term2 | _ => term2 end

Similarly, it will always be displayed as the expansion of this form in terms of primitive match expressions (where the default expression term3 may be replicated).

Explicit pattern testing also largely subsumes the generalization of the if construct to all binary datatypes; compare:

if term is inl _ then terml else termr


if term then terml else termr

The latter appears to be marginally shorter, but it is quite ambiguous, and indeed often requires an explicit annotation term : {_}+{_} to type-check, which evens the character count.

Therefore, SSReflect restricts by default the condition of a plain if construct to the standard bool type; this avoids spurious type annotations, e.g., in:

Definition orb b1 b2 := if b1 then true else b2.

As pointed out in section 11.2.2, this restriction can be removed with the command:

Close Scope boolean_if_scope.

Like let: above, the if term is pattern else term construct supports the dependent match annotations:

if term1 is pattern1 as ident in pattern2 return term2 then term3 else term4

As in let: the variable ident (and those in the type pattern pattern2) are bound in term2; ident is also bound in term3 (but not in term4), while the variables in pattern1 are bound only in term3.

Another variant allows to treat the else case first:

if term1 isn’t pattern1 then term2 else term3

Note that pattern1 eventually binds variables in term3 and not term2.

11.3.3  Parametric polymorphism

Unlike ML, polymorphism in core Gallina is explicit: the type parameters of polymorphic functions must be declared explicitly, and supplied at each point of use. However, Coq provides two features to suppress redundant parameters:

The combination of these features provides a fairly good emulation of ML-style polymorphism, but unfortunately this emulation breaks down for higher-order programming. Implicit arguments are indeed not inferred at all points of use, but only at points of call, leading to expressions such as

Definition all_null (s : list T) := all (@null T) s.

Unfortunately, such higher-order expressions are quite frequent in representation functions, especially those which use Coq’s Structures to emulate Haskell type classes.

Therefore, SSReflect provides a variant of Coq’s implicit argument declaration, which causes Coq to fill in some implicit parameters at each point of use, e.g., the above definition can be written:

Definition all_null (s : list d) := all null s.

Better yet, it can be omitted entirely, since all_null s isn’t much of an improvement over all null s.

The syntax of the new declaration is

Prenex Implicits ident+.

Let us denote 1cn the list of identifiers given to a Prenex Implicits command. The command checks that each ci is the name of a functional constant, whose implicit arguments are prenex, i.e., the first ni > 0 arguments of ci are implicit; then it assigns Maximal Implicit status to these arguments.

As these prenex implicit arguments are ubiquitous and have often large display strings, it is strongly recommended to change the default display settings of Coq so that they are not printed (except after a Set Printing All command). All SSReflect library files thus start with the incantation

Set Implicit Arguments. Unset Strict Implicit. Unset Printing Implicit Defensive.

11.3.4  Anonymous arguments

When in a definition, the type of a certain argument is mandatory, but not its name, one usually use “arrow” abstractions for prenex arguments, or the (_ : term) syntax for inner arguments. In SSReflect, the latter can be replaced by the open syntax ‘of term’ or (equivalently) ‘term’, which are both syntactically equivalent to a (_ : term) expression.

For instance, the usual two-contrsuctor polymorphic type list, i.e. the one of the standard List library, can be defined by the following declaration:

Inductive list (A : Type) : Type := nil | cons of A & list A.

11.3.5  Wildcards

The terms passed as arguments to SSReflect tactics can contain holes, materialized by wildcards _. Since SSReflect allows a more powerful form of type inference for these arguments, it enhances the possibilities of using such wildcards. These holes are in particular used as a convenient shorthand for abstractions, especially in local definitions or type expressions.

Wildcards may be interpreted as abstractions (see for example sections 11.4.1 and 11.6.6), or their content can be inferred from the whole context of the goal (see for example section 11.4.2).

11.4  Definitions

11.4.1  Definitions

The pose tactic allows to add a defined constant to a proof context. SSReflect generalizes this tactic in several ways. In particular, the SSReflect pose tactic supports open syntax: the body of the definition does not need surrounding parentheses. For instance:

pose t := x + y.

is a valid tactic expression.

The pose tactic is also improved for the local definition of higher order terms. Local definitions of functions can use the same syntax as global ones. The tactic:

pose f x y := x + y.

adds to the context the defined constant:

f := fun x y : nat => x + y : nat -> nat -> nat

The SSReflect pose tactic also supports (co)fixpoints, by providing the local counterpart of the Fixpoint f := and CoFixpoint f := constructs. For instance, the following tactic:

pose fix f (x y : nat) {struct x} : nat := if x is S p then S (f p y) else 0.

defines a local fixpoint f, which mimics the standard plus operation on natural numbers.

Similarly, local cofixpoints can be defined by a tactic of the form:

pose cofix f (arg : T) ...

The possibility to include wildcards in the body of the definitions offers a smooth way of defining local abstractions. The type of “holes” is guessed by type inference, and the holes are abstracted. For instance the tactic:

pose f := _ + 1.

is shorthand for:

pose f n := n + 1.

When the local definition of a function involves both arguments and holes, hole abstractions appear first. For instance, the tactic:

pose f x := x + _.

is shorthand for:

pose f n x := x + n.

The interaction of the pose tactic with the interpretation of implicit arguments results in a powerful and concise syntax for local definitions involving dependent types. For instance, the tactic:

pose f x y := (x, y).

adds to the context the local definition:

pose f (Tx Ty : Type) (x : Tx) (y : Ty) := (x, y).

The generalization of wildcards makes the use of the pose tactic resemble ML-like definitions of polymorphic functions.

11.4.2  Abbreviations

The SSReflect set tactic performs abbreviations: it introduces a defined constant for a subterm appearing in the goal and/or in the context.

SSReflect extends the set tactic by supplying:

The general syntax of this tactic is

set ident [: term1] := [occ-switch] term2
occ-switch ::= {[+|-] natural* }


The tactic:

set t := f _.

transforms the goal f x + f x = f x into t + t = t, adding t := f x to the context, and the tactic:

set t := {2}(f _).

transforms it into f x + t = f x, adding t := f x to the context.

The type annotation term1 may contain wildcards, which will be filled with the appropriate value by the matching process.

The tactic first tries to find a subterm of the goal matching term2 (and its type term1), and stops at the first subterm it finds. Then the occurrences of this subterm selected by the optional occ-switch are replaced by ident and a definition ident := term is added to the context. If no occ-switch is present, then all the occurrences are abstracted.


The matching algorithm compares a pattern term with a subterm of the goal by comparing their heads and then pairwise unifying their arguments (modulo conversion). Head symbols match under the following conditions:


Occurrence selection

SSReflect provides a generic syntax for the selection of occurrences by their position indexes. These occurrence switches are shared by all SSReflect tactics which require control on subterm selection like rewriting, generalization, …

An occurrence switch can be:

It is important to remember that matching precedes occurrence selection, hence the tactic:

set a := {2}(_ + _).

transforms the goal x + y = x + y + z into x + y = a + z and fails on the goal
(x + y) + (z + z) = z + z with the error message:

User error: only 1 < 2 occurrence of (x + y + (z + z))

11.4.3  Localization

It is possible to define an abbreviation for a term appearing in the context of a goal thanks to the in tactical.

A tactic of the form:

set x := term in fact1...factn.

introduces a defined constant called x in the context, and folds it in the facts fact1 factn The body of x is the first subterm matching term in fact1 factn.

A tactic of the form:

set x := term in fact1...factn *.

matches term and then folds x similarly in fact1 factn, but also folds x in the goal.

A goal x + t = 4, whose context contains Hx : x = 3, is left unchanged by the tactic:

set z := 3 in Hx.

but the context is extended with the definition z := 3 and Hx becomes Hx : x = z. On the same goal and context, the tactic:

set z := 3 in Hx *.

will moreover change the goal into x + t = S z. Indeed, remember that 4 is just a notation for (S 3).

The use of the in tactical is not limited to the localization of abbreviations: for a complete description of the in tactical, see section 11.5.1.

11.5  Basic tactics

A sizable fraction of proof scripts consists of steps that do not "prove" anything new, but instead perform menial bookkeeping tasks such as selecting the names of constants and assumptions or splitting conjuncts. Although they are logically trivial, bookkeeping steps are extremely important because they define the structure of the data-flow of a proof script. This is especially true for reflection-based proofs, which often involve large numbers of constants and assumptions. Good bookkeeping consists in always explicitly declaring (i.e., naming) all new constants and assumptions in the script, and systematically pruning irrelevant constants and assumptions in the context. This is essential in the context of an interactive development environment (IDE), because it facilitates navigating the proof, allowing to instantly "jump back" to the point at which a questionable assumption was added, and to find relevant assumptions by browsing the pruned context. While novice or casual Coq users may find the automatic name selection feature convenient, the usage of such a feature severely undermines the readability and maintainability of proof scripts, much like automatic variable declaration in programming languages. The SSReflect tactics are therefore designed to support precise bookkeeping and to eliminate name generation heuristics. The bookkeeping features of SSReflect are implemented as tacticals (or pseudo-tacticals), shared across most SSReflect tactics, and thus form the foundation of the SSReflect proof language.

11.5.1  Bookkeeping

During the course of a proof Coq always present the user with a sequent whose general form is

ci : Ti 
dj := ej : Tj 
Fk : Pk 
forall (x : T) …,
let ym := bm in … in
Pn -> … -> C

The goal to be proved appears below the double line; above the line is the context of the sequent, a set of declarations of constants ci, defined constants di, and facts Fk that can be used to prove the goal (usually, Ti, Tj : Type and Pk : Prop). The various kinds of declarations can come in any order. The top part of the context consists of declarations produced by the Section commands Variable, Let, and Hypothesis. This section context is never affected by the SSReflect tactics: they only operate on the lower part — the proof context. As in the figure above, the goal often decomposes into a series of (universally) quantified variables (x : T), local definitions let ym := bm in, and assumptions Pn ->, and a conclusion C (as in the context, variables, definitions, and assumptions can appear in any order). The conclusion is what actually needs to be proved — the rest of the goal can be seen as a part of the proof context that happens to be “below the line”.

However, although they are logically equivalent, there are fundamental differences between constants and facts on the one hand, and variables and assumptions on the others. Constants and facts are unordered, but named explicitly in the proof text; variables and assumptions are ordered, but unnamed: the display names of variables may change at any time because of α-conversion.

Similarly, basic deductive steps such as apply can only operate on the goal because the Gallina terms that control their action (e.g., the type of the lemma used by apply) only provide unnamed bound variables.2 Since the proof script can only refer directly to the context, it must constantly shift declarations from the goal to the context and conversely in between deductive steps.

In SSReflect these moves are performed by two tacticals=>’ and ‘:’, so that the bookkeeping required by a deductive step can be directly associated to that step, and that tactics in an SSReflect script correspond to actual logical steps in the proof rather than merely shuffle facts. Still, some isolated bookkeeping is unavoidable, such as naming variables and assumptions at the beginning of a proof. SSReflect provides a specific move tactic for this purpose.

Now move does essentially nothing: it is mostly a placeholder for ‘=>’ and ‘:’. The ‘=>’ tactical moves variables, local definitions, and assumptions to the context, while the ‘:’ tactical moves facts and constants to the goal. For example, the proof of3

Lemma subnK : forall m n, n <= m -> m - n + n = m.

might start with

move=> m n le_n_m.

where move does nothing, but => m n le_m_n changes the variables and assumption of the goal in the constants m n : nat and the fact le_n_m : n <= m, thus exposing the conclusion
m - n + n = m.

The ‘:’ tactical is the converse of ‘=>’: it removes facts and constants from the context by turning them into variables and assumptions. Thus

move: m le_n_m.

turns back m and le_m_n into a variable and an assumption, removing them from the proof context, and changing the goal to

forall m, n <= m -> m - n + n = m.

which can be proved by induction on n using elim: n.

Because they are tacticals, ‘:’ and ‘=>’ can be combined, as in

move: m le_n_m => p le_n_p.

simultaneously renames m and le_m_n into p and le_n_p, respectively, by first turning them into unnamed variables, then turning these variables back into constants and facts.

Furthermore, SSReflect redefines the basic Coq tactics case, elim, and apply so that they can take better advantage of ’:’ and ‘=>’. In there SSReflect variants, these tactic operate on the first variable or constant of the goal and they do not use or change the proof context. The ‘:’ tactical is used to operate on an element in the context. For instance the proof of subnK could continue with

elim: n.

instead of elim n; this has the advantage of removing n from the context. Better yet, this elim can be combined with previous move and with the branching version of the => tactical (described in 11.5.4), to encapsulate the inductive step in a single command:

elim: n m le_n_m => [|n IHn] m => [_ | lt_n_m].

which breaks down the proof into two subgoals,

m - 0 + 0 = m

given m : nat, and

m - S n + S n = m

given m n : nat, lt_n_m : S n <= m, and

IHn : forall m, n <= m -> m - n + n = m.

The ’:’ and ‘=>’ tacticals can be explained very simply if one views the goal as a stack of variables and assumptions piled on a conclusion:

These pushes and pops do not need to balance out as in the examples above, so

move: m le_n_m => p.

would rename m into p, but leave an extra assumption n <= p in the goal.

Basic tactics like apply and elim can also be used without the ’:’ tactical: for example we can directly start a proof of subnK by induction on the top variable m with

elim=> [|m IHm] n le_n.

The general form of the localization tactical in is also best explained in terms of the goal stack:

tactic in a H1 H2 *.

is basically equivalent to

move: a H1 H2; tactic => a H1 H2.

with two differences: the in tactical will preserve the body of a if a is a defined constant, and if the ‘*’ is omitted it will use a temporary abbreviation to hide the statement of the goal from /*tactic*/.

The general form of the in tactical can be used directly with the move, case and elim tactics, so that one can write

elim: n => [|n IHn] in m le_n_m *.

instead of

elim: n m le_n_m => [|n IHn] m le_n_m.

This is quite useful for inductive proofs that involve many facts.

See section 11.6.5 for the general syntax and presentation of the in tactical.

11.5.2  The defective tactics

In this section we briefly present the three basic tactics performing context manipulations and the main backward chaining tool.

The move tactic.

The move tactic, in its defective form, behaves like the primitive hnf Coq tactic. For example, such a defective:


exposes the first assumption in the goal, i.e. its changes the goal False into False -> False.

More precisely, the move tactic inspects the goal and does nothing (idtac) if an introduction step is possible, i.e. if the goal is a product or a letin, and performs hnf otherwise.

Of course this tactic is most often used in combination with the bookkeeping tacticals (see section 11.5.4 and 11.5.3). These combinations mostly subsume the intros, generalize, revert, rename, clear and pattern tactics.

The case tactic.

The case tactic performs primitive case analysis on (co)inductive types; specifically, it destructs the top variable or assumption of the goal, exposing its constructor(s) and its arguments, as well as setting the value of its type family indices if it belongs to a type family (see section 11.5.6).

The SSReflect case tactic has a special behavior on equalities. If the top assumption of the goal is an equality, the case tactic “destructs” it as a set of equalities between the constructor arguments of its left and right hand sides, as per the tactic injection. For example, case changes the goal

(x, y) = (1, 2) -> G.


x = 1 -> y = 2 -> G.

Note also that the case of SSReflect performs False elimination, even if no branch is generated by this case operation. Hence the command:


on a goal of the form False -> G will succeed and prove the goal.

The elim tactic.

The elim tactic performs inductive elimination on inductive types. The defective:


tactic performs inductive elimination on a goal whose top assumption has an inductive type. For example on goal of the form:

forall n : nat, m <= n

in a context containing m : nat, the


tactic produces two goals,

m <= 0

on one hand and

forall n : nat, m <= n -> m <= S n

on the other hand.

The apply tactic.

The apply tactic is the main backward chaining tactic of the proof system. It takes as argument any /*term*/ and applies it to the goal. Assumptions in the type of /*term*/ that don’t directly match the goal may generate one or more subgoals.

In fact the SSReflect tactic:


is a synonym for:

intro top; first [refine top | refine (top _) | refine (top _ _) | ...]; clear top.

where top is fresh name, and the sequence of refine tactics tries to catch the appropriate number of wildcards to be inserted. Note that this use of the refine tactic implies that the tactic tries to match the goal up to expansion of constants and evaluation of subterms.

SSReflect’s apply has a special behaviour on goals containing existential metavariables of sort Prop. Consider the following example:

Goal (forall y, 1 < y -> y < 2 -> exists x : { n | n < 3 }, proj1_sig x > 0). move=> y y_gt1 y_lt2; apply: (ex_intro _ (exist _ y _)). by apply: gt_trans _ y_lt2. by move=> y_lt3; apply: lt_trans y_gt1.

Note that the last _ of the tactic apply: (ex_intro _ (exist _ y _)) represents a proof that y < 3. Instead of generating the following goal

0 < (n:=3) (m:=y) ?54

the system tries to prove y < 3 calling the trivial tactic. If it succeeds, let’s say because the context contains H : y < 3, then the system generates the following goal:

0 < proj1_sig (exist (fun n => n < 3) y H

Otherwise the missing proof is considered to be irrelevant, and is thus discharged generating the following goals:

y < 3 forall H : y < 3, proj1_sig (exist (fun n => n < 3) y H)

Last, the user can replace the trivial tactic by defining an Ltac expression named ssrautoprop.

11.5.3  Discharge

The general syntax of the discharging tactical ‘:’ is:

tactic [ident] : d-item1d-itemn [clear-switch]

where n > 0, and d-item and clear-switch are defined as

d-item::=[occ-switch | clear-switch] term
clear-switch::={ ident1  …  identm }

with the following requirements:

The ‘:’ tactical first discharges all the d-items, right to left, and then performs tactic, i.e., for each d-item, starting with d-itemn:

  1. The SSReflect matching algorithm described in section 11.4.2 is used to find occurrences of term in the goal, after filling any holes ‘_’ in term; however if tactic is apply or exact a different matching algorithm, described below, is used 4.
  2.   These occurrences are replaced by a new variable; in particular, if term is a fact, this adds an assumption to the goal.
  3.   If term is exactly the name of a constant or fact in the proof context, it is deleted from the context, unless there is an occ-switch.

Finally, tactic is performed just after d-item1 has been generalized — that is, between steps 2 and 3 for d-item1. The names listed in the final clear-switch (if it is present) are cleared first, before d-itemn is discharged.

Switches affect the discharging of a d-item as follows:

For example, the tactic:

move: n {2}n (refl_equal n).

Therefore this tactic changes any goal G into

forall n n0 : nat, n = n0 -> G.

where the name n0 is picked by the Coq display function, and assuming n appeared only in G.

Finally, note that a discharge operation generalizes defined constants as variables, and not as local definitions. To override this behavior, prefix the name of the local definition with a @, like in move: @n.

This is in contrast with the behavior of the in tactical (see section 11.6.5), which preserves local definitions by default.

Clear rules

The clear step will fail if term is a proof constant that appears in other facts; in that case either the facts should be cleared explicitly with a clear-switch, or the clear step should be disabled. The latter can be done by adding an occ-switch or simply by putting parentheses around term: both

move: (n).


move: {+}n.

generalize n without clearing n from the proof context.

The clear step will also fail if the clear-switch contains a ident that is not in the proof context. Note that SSReflect never clears a section constant.

If tactic is move or case and an equation ident is given, then clear (step 3) for d-item1 is suppressed (see section 11.5.5).

Matching for apply and exact

The matching algorithm for d-items of the SSReflect apply and exact tactics exploits the type of d-item1 to interpret wildcards in the other d-item and to determine which occurrences of these should be generalized. Therefore, occur switches are not needed for apply and exact.

Indeed, the SSReflect tactic apply: H x is equivalent to

refine (@H _ ... _ x); clear H x

with an appropriate number of wildcards between H and x.

Note that this means that matching for apply and exact has much more context to interpret wildcards; in particular it can accommodate the ‘_d-item, which would always be rejected after ‘move:’. For example, the tactic

apply: trans_equal (Hfg _) _.

transforms the goal f a = g b, whose context contains (Hfg : forall x, f x = g x), into g a = g b. This tactic is equivalent (see section 11.5.1) to:

refine (trans_equal (Hfg _) _).

and this is a common idiom for applying transitivity on the left hand side of an equation.

The abstract tactic

The abstract tactic assigns an abstract constant previously introduced with the [: name ] intro pattern (see section 11.5.4, page ??). In a goal like the following:

m : nat abs : <hidden> n : nat ============= m < 5 + n

The tactic abstract: abs n first generalizes the goal with respect to n (that is not visible to the abstract constant abs) and then assigns abs. The resulting goal is:

m : nat n : nat ============= m < 5 + n

Once this subgoal is closed, all other goals having abs in their context see the type assigned to abs. In this case:

m : nat abs : forall n, m < 5 + n

For a more detailed example the user should refer to section 11.6.6, page ??.

11.5.4  Introduction

The application of a tactic to a given goal can generate (quantified) variables, assumptions, or definitions, which the user may want to introduce as new facts, constants or defined constants, respectively. If the tactic splits the goal into several subgoals, each of them may require the introduction of different constants and facts. Furthermore it is very common to immediately decompose or rewrite with an assumption instead of adding it to the context, as the goal can often be simplified and even proved after this.

All these operations are performed by the introduction tactical ‘=>’, whose general syntax is

tactic => i-item1i-itemn

where tactic can be any tactic, n > 0 and

i-item::=i-pattern | s-item | clear-switch | /term
s-item::=/= | // | //=
i-pattern::=ident | _ | ? | * | [occ-switch]-> | [occ-switch]<- |
 [ i-item1* || i-itemm* ] | - | [: ident+ ]

The ‘=>’ tactical first executes tactic, then the i-items, left to right, i.e., starting from i-item1. An s-item specifies a simplification operation; a clear switch specifies context pruning as in 11.5.3. The i-patterns can be seen as a variant of intro patterns 8.3.2: each performs an introduction operation, i.e., pops some variables or assumptions from the goal.

An s-item can simplify the set of subgoals or the subgoal themselves:

When an s-item bears a clear-switch, then the clear-switch is executed after the s-item, e.g., {IHn}// will solve some subgoals, possibly using the fact IHn, and will erase IHn from the context of the remaining subgoals.

The last entry in the i-item grammar rule, /term, represents a view (see section 11.9). If i-itemk+1 is a view i-item, the view is applied to the assumption in top position once i-item1i-itemk have been performed.

The view is applied to the top assumption.

SSReflect supports the following i-patterns:

Note that SSReflect does not support the syntax (ipat,,ipat) for destructing intro-patterns.

Clears are deferred until the end of the intro pattern. For example, given the goal:

x, y : nat ================== 0 < x = true -> (0 < x) && (y < 2) = true

the tactic move=> {x} -> successfully rewrites the goal and deletes x and the anonymous equation. The goal is thus turned into:

y : nat ================== true && (y < 2) = true

If the cleared names are reused in the same intro pattern, a renaming is performed behind the scenes.

Facts mentioned in a clear switch must be valid names in the proof context (excluding the section context).

The rules for interpreting branching and destructing i-pattern are motivated by the fact that it would be pointless to have a branching pattern if tactic is a move, and in most of the remaining cases tactic is case or elim, which implies destruction. The rules above imply that

move=> [a b]. case=> [a b]. case=> a b.

are all equivalent, so which one to use is a matter of style; move should be used for casual decomposition, such as splitting a pair, and case should be used for actual decompositions, in particular for type families (see 11.5.6) and proof by contradiction.

The trivial branching i-pattern can be used to force the branching interpretation, e.g.,

case=> [] [a b] c. move=> [[a b] c]. case; case=> a b c.

are all equivalent.

11.5.5  Generation of equations

The generation of named equations option stores the definition of a new constant as an equation. The tactic:

move En: (size l) => n.

where l is a list, replaces size l by n in the goal and adds the fact En : size l = n to the context. This is quite different from:

pose n := (size l).

which generates a definition n := (size l). It is not possible to generalize or rewrite such a definition; on the other hand, it is automatically expanded during computation, whereas expanding the equation En requires explicit rewriting.

The use of this equation name generation option with a case or an elim tactic changes the status of the first i-item, in order to deal with the possible parameters of the constants introduced.

On the goal a <> b where a, b are natural numbers, the tactic:

case E : a => [|n].

generates two subgoals. The equation E : a = 0 (resp. E : a = S n, and the constant n : nat) has been added to the context of the goal 0 <> b (resp. S n <> b).

If the user does not provide a branching i-item as first i-item, or if the i-item does not provide enough names for the arguments of a constructor, then the constants generated are introduced under fresh SSReflect names. For instance, on the goal a <> b, the tactic:

case E : a => H.

also generates two subgoals, both requiring a proof of False. The hypotheses E : a = 0 and H : 0 = b (resp. E : a = S _n_ and H : S _n_ = b) have been added to the context of the first subgoal (resp. the second subgoal).

Combining the generation of named equations mechanism with the case tactic strengthens the power of a case analysis. On the other hand, when combined with the elim tactic, this feature is mostly useful for debug purposes, to trace the values of decomposed parameters and pinpoint failing branches.

11.5.6  Type families

When the top assumption of a goal has an inductive type, two specific operations are possible: the case analysis performed by the case tactic, and the application of an induction principle, performed by the elim tactic. When this top assumption has an inductive type, which is moreover an instance of a type family, Coq may need help from the user to specify which occurrences of the parameters of the type should be substituted.

A specific / switch indicates the type family parameters of the type of a d-item immediately following this / switch, using the syntax:

[ case | elim ]: d-item+ / d-item*

The d-items on the right side of the / switch are discharged as described in section 11.5.3. The case analysis or elimination will be done on the type of the top assumption after these discharge operations.

Every d-item preceding the / is interpreted as arguments of this type, which should be an instance of an inductive type family. These terms are not actually generalized, but rather selected for substitution. Occurrence switches can be used to restrict the substitution. If a term is left completely implicit (e.g. writing just _), then a pattern is inferred looking at the type of the top assumption. This allows for the compact syntax case: {2}_ / eqP, were _ is interpreted as (_ == _). Moreover if the d-items list is too short, it is padded with an initial sequence of _ of the right length.

Here is a small example on lists. We define first a function which adds an element at the end of a given list.

Require Import List. Section LastCases. Variable A : Type. Fixpoint add_last(a : A)(l : list A): list A := match l with |nil => a :: nil |hd :: tl => hd :: (add_last a tl) end.

Then we define an inductive predicate for case analysis on lists according to their last element:

Inductive last_spec : list A -> Type := | LastSeq0 : last_spec nil | LastAdd s x : last_spec (add_last x s). Theorem lastP : forall l : list A, last_spec l.

Applied to the goal:

Goal forall l : list A, (length l) * 2 = length (app l l).

the command:

move=> l; case: (lastP l).

generates two subgoals:

length nil * 2 = length (nil ++ nil)


forall (s : list A) (x : A), length (add_last x s) * 2 = length (add_last x s ++ add_last x s)

both having l : list A in their context.

Applied to the same goal, the command:

move=> l; case: l / (lastP l).

generates the same subgoals but l has been cleared from both contexts.

Again applied to the same goal, the command:

move=> l; case: {1 3}l / (lastP l).

generates the subgoals length l * 2 = length (nil ++ l) and forall (s : list A) (x : A), length l * 2 = length (add_last x s++l) where the selected occurrences on the left of the / switch have been substituted with l instead of being affected by the case analysis.

The equation name generation feature combined with a type family / switch generates an equation for the first dependent d-item specified by the user. Again starting with the above goal, the command:

move=> l; case E: {1 3}l / (lastP l)=>[|s x].

adds E : l = nil and E : l = add_last x s, respectively, to the context of the two subgoals it generates.

There must be at least one d-item to the left of the / switch; this prevents any confusion with the view feature. However, the d-items to the right of the / are optional, and if they are omitted the first assumption provides the instance of the type family.

The equation always refers to the first d-item in the actual tactic call, before any padding with initial _s. Thus, if an inductive type has two family parameters, it is possible to have SSReflect generate an equation for the second one by omitting the pattern for the first; note however that this will fail if the type of the second parameter depends on the value of the first parameter.

11.6  Control flow

11.6.1  Indentation and bullets

A linear development of Coq scripts gives little information on the structure of the proof. In addition, replaying a proof after some changes in the statement to be proved will usually not display information to distinguish between the various branches of case analysis for instance.

To help the user in this organization of the proof script at development time, SSReflect provides some bullets to highlight the structure of branching proofs. The available bullets are -, + and *. Combined with tabulation, this lets us highlight four nested levels of branching; the most we have ever needed is three. Indeed, the use of “simpl and closing” switches, of terminators (see above section 11.6.2) and selectors (see section 11.6.3) is powerful enough to avoid most of the time more than two levels of indentation.

Here is a fragment of such a structured script:

case E1: (abezoutn _ _) => [[| k1] [| k2]]. - rewrite !muln0 !gexpn0 mulg1 => H1. move/eqP: (sym_equal F0); rewrite -H1 orderg1 eqn_mul1. by case/andP; move/eqP. - rewrite muln0 gexpn0 mulg1 => H1. have F1: t %| t * S k2.+1 - 1. apply: (@dvdn_trans (orderg x)); first by rewrite F0; exact: dvdn_mull. rewrite orderg_dvd; apply/eqP; apply: (mulgI x). rewrite -{1}(gexpn1 x) mulg1 gexpn_add leq_add_sub //. by move: P1; case t. rewrite dvdn_subr in F1; last by exact: dvdn_mulr. + rewrite H1 F0 -{2}(muln1 (p ^ l)); congr (_ * _). by apply/eqP; rewrite -dvdn1. + by move: P1; case: (t) => [| [| s1]]. - rewrite muln0 gexpn0 mul1g => H1. ...

11.6.2  Terminators

To further structure scripts, SSReflect supplies terminating tacticals to explicitly close off tactics. When replaying scripts, we then have the nice property that an error immediately occurs when a closed tactic fails to prove its subgoal.

It is hence recommended practice that the proof of any subgoal should end with a tactic which fails if it does not solve the current goal, like discriminate, contradiction or assumption.

In fact, SSReflect provides a generic tactical which turns any tactic into a closing one (similar to now). Its general syntax is:

by tactic.

The Ltac expression:

by [tactic1 | [tactic2 | ...].

is equivalent to:

[by tactic1 | by tactic2 | ...].

and this form should be preferred to the former.

In the script provided as example in section 11.6.1, the paragraph corresponding to each sub-case ends with a tactic line prefixed with a by, like in:

by apply/eqP; rewrite -dvdn1.

The by tactical is implemented using the user-defined, and extensible done tactic. This done tactic tries to solve the current goal by some trivial means and fails if it doesn’t succeed. Indeed, the tactic expression:

by tactic.

is equivalent to:

tactic; done.

Conversely, the tactic

by [ ].

is equivalent to:


The default implementation of the done tactic, in the ssreflect.v file, is:

Ltac done := trivial; hnf; intros; solve [ do ![solve [trivial | apply: sym_equal; trivial] | discriminate | contradiction | split] | case not_locked_false_eq_true; assumption | match goal with H : ~ _ |- _ => solve [case H; trivial] end ].

The lemma |*not_locked_false_eq_true*| is needed to discriminate locked boolean predicates (see section 11.7.3). The iterator tactical do is presented in section 11.6.4. This tactic can be customized by the user, for instance to include an auto tactic.

A natural and common way of closing a goal is to apply a lemma which is the exact one needed for the goal to be solved. The defective form of the tactic:


is equivalent to:

do [done | by move=> top; apply top].

where top is a fresh name affected to the top assumption of the goal. This applied form is supported by the : discharge tactical, and the tactic:

exact: MyLemma.

is equivalent to:

by apply: MyLemma.

(see section 11.5.3 for the documentation of the apply: combination).

Warning The list of tactics, possibly chained by semi-columns, that follows a by keyword is considered as a parenthesized block applied to the current goal. Hence for example if the tactic:

by rewrite my_lemma1.

succeeds, then the tactic:

by rewrite my_lemma1; apply my_lemma2.

usually fails since it is equivalent to:

by (rewrite my_lemma1; apply my_lemma2).

11.6.3  Selectors

When composing tactics, the two tacticals first and last let the user restrict the application of a tactic to only one of the subgoals generated by the previous tactic. This covers the frequent cases where a tactic generates two subgoals one of which can be easily disposed of.

This is an other powerful way of linearization of scripts, since it happens very often that a trivial subgoal can be solved in a less than one line tactic. For instance, the tactic:

tactic1; last by tactic2.

tries to solve the last subgoal generated by tactic1 using the tactic2, and fails if it does not succeeds. Its analogous

tactic1; first by tactic2.

tries to solve the first subgoal generated by tactic1 using the tactic tactic2, and fails if it does not succeeds.

SSReflect also offers an extension of this facility, by supplying tactics to permute the subgoals generated by a tactic. The tactic:

tactic; last first.

inverts the order of the subgoals generated by tactic. It is equivalent to:

tactic; first last.

More generally, the tactic:

tactic; last natural first.

where natural is a Coq numeral, or and Ltac variable denoting a Coq numeral, having the value k. It rotates the n subgoals G1, …, Gn generated by tactic. The first subgoal becomes Gn + 1 − k and the circular order of subgoals remains unchanged.

Conversely, the tactic:

tactic; first natural last.

rotates the n subgoals G1, …, Gn generated by tactic in order that the first subgoal becomes Gk.

Finally, the tactics last and first combine with the branching syntax of Ltac: if the tactic tactic0 generates n subgoals on a given goal, then the tactic

tactic0; last natural [tactic1||tacticm] || tacticm+1.

where natural denotes the integer k as above, applies tactic1 to the nk + 1-th goal, … tacticm to the nk + 2 − m-th goal and tacticm+1 to the others.

For instance, the script:

Inductive test : nat -> Prop := C1 : forall n, test n | C2 : forall n, test n | C3 : forall n, test n | C4 : forall n, test n. Goal forall n, test n -> True. move=> n t; case: t; last 2 [move=> k| move=> l]; idtac.

creates a goal with four subgoals, the first and the last being nat -> True, the second and the third being True with respectively k : nat and l : nat in their context.

11.6.4  Iteration

SSReflect offers an accurate control on the repetition of tactics, thanks to the do tactical, whose general syntax is:

do [mult] [ tactic1 || tacticn ]

where mult is a multiplier.

Brackets can only be omitted if a single tactic is given and a multiplier is present.

A tactic of the form:

do [ tactic1 || tacticn].

is equivalent to the standard Ltac expression:

first [ tactic1 || tacticn].

The optional multiplier mult specifies how many times the action of tactic should be repeated on the current subgoal.

There are four kinds of multipliers:

For instance, the tactic:

tactic do 1?rewrite mult_comm.

rewrites at most one time the lemma mult_com in all the subgoals generated by tactic , whereas the tactic:

tactic do 2!rewrite mult_comm.

rewrites exactly two times the lemma mult_com in all the subgoals generated by tactic, and fails if this rewrite is not possible in some subgoal.

Note that the combination of multipliers and rewrite is so often used that multipliers are in fact integrated to the syntax of the SSReflect rewrite tactic, see section 11.7.

11.6.5  Localization

In sections 11.4.3 and 11.5.1, we have already presented the localization tactical in, whose general syntax is:

tactic in ident+ [*]

where ident+ is a non empty list of fact names in the context. On the left side of in, tactic can be move, case, elim, rewrite, set, or any tactic formed with the general iteration tactical do (see section 11.6.4).

The operation described by tactic is performed in the facts listed in ident+ and in the goal if a * ends the list.

The in tactical successively:

This defective form of the do tactical is useful to avoid clashes between standard Ltac in and the SSReflect tactical in. For example, in the following script:

Ltac mytac H := rewrite H. Goal forall x y, x = y -> y = 3 -> x + y = 6. move=> x y H1 H2. do [mytac H2] in H1 *.

the last tactic rewrites the hypothesis H2 : y = 3 both in H1 : x = y and in the goal x + y = 6.

By default in keeps the body of local definitions. To erase the body of a local definition during the generalization phase, the name of the local definition must be written between parentheses, like in rewrite H in H1 (def_n)   H2.

From SSReflect 1.5 the grammar for the in tactical has been extended to the following one:

tactic in [ clear-switch | [@]ident | (ident) | ([@]ident := c-pattern) ]+ [*]

In its simplest form the last option lets one rename hypotheses that can’t be cleared (like section variables). For example (y := x) generalizes over x and reintroduces the generalized variable under the name y (and does not clear x).
For a more precise description the ([@]ident := c-pattern) item refer to the “Advanced generalization” paragraph at page ??.

11.6.6  Structure

Forward reasoning structures the script by explicitly specifying some assumptions to be added to the proof context. It is closely associated with the declarative style of proof, since an extensive use of these highlighted statements make the script closer to a (very detailed) text book proof.

Forward chaining tactics allow to state an intermediate lemma and start a piece of script dedicated to the proof of this statement. The use of closing tactics (see section 11.6.2) and of indentation makes syntactically explicit the portion of the script building the proof of the intermediate statement.

The have tactic.

The main SSReflect forward reasoning tactic is the have tactic. It can be use in two modes: one starts a new (sub)proof for an intermediate result in the main proof, and the other provides explicitly a proof term for this intermediate step.

In the first mode, the syntax of have in its defective form is:

have: term.

This tactic supports open syntax for term. Applied to a goal G, it generates a first subgoal requiring a proof of term in the context of G. The second generated subgoal is of the form term -> G, where term becomes the new top assumption, instead of being introduced with a fresh name. At the proof-term level, the have tactic creates a β redex, and introduces the lemma under a fresh name, automatically chosen.

Like in the case of the pose tactic (see section 11.4.1), the types of the holes are abstracted in term. For instance, the tactic:

have: _ * 0 = 0.

is equivalent to:

have: forall n : nat, n * 0 = 0.

The have tactic also enjoys the same abstraction mechanism as the pose tactic for the non-inferred implicit arguments. For instance, the tactic:

have: forall x y, (x, y) = (x, y + 0).

opens a new subgoal to prove that:

forall (T : Type) (x : T) (y : nat), (x, y) = (x, y + 0)

The behavior of the defective have tactic makes it possible to generalize it in the following general construction:

have i-item* [i-pattern] [s-item | binder+] [: term1] [:= term2 | by tactic]

Open syntax is supported for term1 and term2. For the description of i-items and clear switches see section 11.5.4. The first mode of the have tactic, which opens a sub-proof for an intermediate result, uses tactics of the form:

have clear-switch i-item : term by tactic.

which behave like:

have: term ; first by tactic.
move=> clear-switch i-item.

Note that the clear-switch precedes the i-item, which allows to reuse a name of the context, possibly used by the proof of the assumption, to introduce the new assumption itself.

The by feature is especially convenient when the proof script of the statement is very short, basically when it fits in one line like in:

have H : forall x y, x + y = y + x by move=> x y; rewrite addnC.

The possibility of using i-items supplies a very concise syntax for the further use of the intermediate step. For instance,

have -> : forall x, x * a = a.

on a goal G, opens a new subgoal asking for a proof of forall x, x * a = a, and a second subgoal in which the lemma forall x, x * a = a has been rewritten in the goal G. Note that in this last subgoal, the intermediate result does not appear in the context. Note that, thanks to the deferred execution of clears, the following idiom is supported (assuming x occurs in the goal only):

have {x} -> : x = y

An other frequent use of the intro patterns combined with have is the destruction of existential assumptions like in the tactic:

have [x Px]: exists x : nat, x > 0.

which opens a new subgoal asking for a proof of exists x : nat, x > 0 and a second subgoal in which the witness is introduced under the name x : nat, and its property under the name Px : x > 0.

An alternative use of the have tactic is to provide the explicit proof term for the intermediate lemma, using tactics of the form:

have [ident] := term.

This tactic creates a new assumption of type the type of term. If the optional ident is present, this assumption is introduced under the name ident. Note that the body of the constant is lost for the user.

Again, non inferred implicit arguments and explicit holes are abstracted. For instance, the tactic:

have H := forall x, (x, x) = (x, x).

adds to the context H : Type -> Prop. This is a schematic example but the feature is specially useful when the proof term to give involves for instance a lemma with some hidden implicit arguments.

After the i-pattern, a list of binders is allowed. For example, if Pos_to_P is a lemma that proves that P holds for any positive, the following command:

have H x (y : nat) : 2 * x + y = x + x + y by auto.

will put in the context H : forall x, 2 * x = x + x. A proof term provided after := can mention these bound variables (that are automatically introduced with the given names). Since the i-pattern can be omitted, to avoid ambiguity, bound variables can be surrounded with parentheses even if no type is specified:

have (x) : 2 * x = x + x by auto.

The i-items and s-item can be used to interpret the asserted hypothesis with views (see section 11.9) or simplify the resulting goals.

The have tactic also supports a suff modifier which allows for asserting that a given statement implies the current goal without copying the goal itself. For example, given a goal G the tactic have suff H : P results in the following two goals:

|- P -> G H : P -> G |- G

Note that H is introduced in the second goal. The suff modifier is not compatible with the presence of a list of binders.

Generating let in context entries with have

Since SSReflect 1.5 the have tactic supports a “transparent” modifier to generate let in context entries: the @ symbol in front of the context entry name. For example:

have @i : 'I_n by apply: (Sub m); auto.

generates the following two context entry:

i := Sub m proof_produced_by_auto : 'I_n

Note that the sub-term produced by auto is in general huge and uninteresting, and hence one may want to hide it.

For this purpose the [: name ] intro pattern and the tactic abstract (see page ??) are provided. Example:

have [:blurb] @i : 'I_n by apply: (Sub m); abstract: blurb; auto.

generates the following two context entries:

blurb : (m < n) (*1*) i := Sub m blurb : 'I_n

The type of blurb can be cleaned up by its annotations by just simplifying it. The annotations are there for technical reasons only.

When intro patterns for abstract constants are used in conjunction with have and an explicit term, they must be used as follows:

have [:blurb] @i : 'I_n := Sub m blurb. by auto.

In this case the abstract constant blurb is assigned by using it in the term that follows := and its corresponding goal is left to be solved. Goals corresponding to intro patterns for abstract constants are opened in the order in which the abstract constants are declared (not in the “order” in which they are used in the term).

Note that abstract constants do respect scopes. Hence, if a variable is declared after their introduction, it has to be properly generalized (i.e. explicitly passed to the abstract constant when one makes use of it). For example any of the following two lines:

have [:blurb] @i k : 'I_(n+k) by apply: (Sub m); abstract: blurb k; auto. have [:blurb] @i k : 'I_(n+k) := apply: Sub m (blurb k); first by auto.

generates the following context:

blurb : (forall k, m < n+k) (*1*) i := fun k => Sub m (blurb k) : forall k, 'I_(n+k)

Last, notice that the use of intro patterns for abstract constants is orthogonal to the transparent flag @ for have.

The have tactic and type classes resolution

Since SSReflect 1.5 the have tactic behaves as follows with respect to type classes inference.

The behavior of SSReflect 1.4 and below (never resolve type classes) can be restored with the option Set SsrHave NoTCResolution.

Variants: the suff and wlog tactics.

As it is often the case in mathematical textbooks, forward reasoning may be used in slightly different variants. One of these variants is to show that the intermediate step L easily implies the initial goal G. By easily we mean here that the proof of LG is shorter than the one of L itself. This kind of reasoning step usually starts with: “It suffices to show that …”.

This is such a frequent way of reasoning that SSReflect has a variant of the have tactic called suffices (whose abridged name is suff). The have and suff tactics are equivalent and have the same syntax but:

The rationale of this clearing policy is to make possible “trivial” refinements of an assumption, without changing its name in the main branch of the reasoning.

The have modifier can follow the suff tactic. For example, given a goal G the tactic suff have H : P results in the following two goals:

H : P |- G |- (P -> G) -> G

Note that, in contrast with have suff, the name H has been introduced in the first goal.

Another useful construct is reduction, showing that a particular case is in fact general enough to prove a general property. This kind of reasoning step usually starts with: “Without loss of generality, we can suppose that …”. Formally, this corresponds to the proof of a goal G by introducing a cut wlog_statement -> G. Hence the user shall provide a proof for both (wlog_statement -> G) -> G and wlog_statement -> G. However, such cuts are usually rather painful to perform by hand, because the statement wlog_statement is tedious to write by hand, and somtimes even to read.

SSReflect implements this kind of reasoning step through the without loss tactic, whose short name is wlog. It offers support to describe the shape of the cut statements, by providing the simplifying hypothesis and by pointing at the elements of the initial goals which should be generalized. The general syntax of without loss is:

wlog [suff] [clear-switch] [i-item] : [ident1identn] / term

where ident1identn are identifiers for constants in the context of the goal. Open syntax is supported for term.

In its defective form:

wlog: / term.

on a goal G, it creates two subgoals: a first one to prove the formula (term -> G) -> G and a second one to prove the formula term -> G.

:browse confirm wa If the optional list ident1identn is present on the left side of /, these constants are generalized in the premise (term -> G) of the first subgoal. By default the body of local definitions is erased. This behavior can be inhibited prefixing the name of the local definition with the @ character.

In the second subgoal, the tactic:

move=> clear-switch i-item.

is performed if at least one of these optional switches is present in the wlog tactic.

The wlog tactic is specially useful when a symmetry argument simplifies a proof. Here is an example showing the beginning of the proof that quotient and reminder of natural number euclidean division are unique.

Lemma quo_rem_unicity: forall d q1 q2 r1 r2, q1*d + r1 = q2*d + r2 -> r1 < d -> r2 < d -> (q1, r1) = (q2, r2). move=> d q1 q2 r1 r2. wlog: q1 q2 r1 r2 / q1 <= q2. by case (le_gt_dec q1 q2)=> H; last symmetry; eauto with arith.

The wlog suff variant is simpler, since it cuts wlog_statement instead of wlog_statement -> G. It thus opens the goals wlog_statement -> G and wlog_statement.

In its simplest form the generally have :... tactic is equivalent to wlog suff :... followed by last first. When the have tactic is used with the generally (or gen) modifier it accepts an extra identifier followed by a comma before the usual intro pattern. The identifier will name the new hypothesis in its more general form, while the intro pattern will be used to process its instance. For example:

Lemma simple n (ngt0 : 0 < n ) : P n. gen have ltnV, /andP[nge0 neq0] : n ngt0 / (0 <= n) && (n != 0).

The first subgoal will be

n : nat ngt0 : 0 < n ==================== (0 <= n) && (n != 0)

while the second one will be

n : nat ltnV : forall n, 0 < n -> (0 <= n) && (n != 0) nge0 : 0 <= n neqn0 : n != 0 ==================== P n
Advanced generalization

The complete syntax for the items on the left hand side of the / separator is the following one:

clear-switch | [@] ident | ([@]ident := c-pattern)

Clear operations are intertwined with generalization operations. This helps in particular avoiding dependency issues while generalizing some facts.

If an ident is prefixed with the @ prefix mark, then a let-in redex is created, which keeps track if its body (if any). The syntax (ident:=c-pattern) allows to generalize an arbitrary term using a given name. Note that its simplest form (x := y) is just a renaming of y into x. In particular, this can be useful in order to simulate the generalization of a section variable, otherwise not allowed. Indeed renaming does not require the original variable to be cleared.

The syntax (@x := y) generates a let-in abstraction but with the following caveat: x will not bind y, but its body, whenever y can be unfolded. This cover the case of both local and global definitions, as illustrated in the following example:

Section Test. Variable x : nat. Definition addx z := z + x. Lemma test : x <= addx x. wlog H : (y := x) (@twoy := addx x) / twoy = 2 * y.

The first subgoal is:

(forall y : nat, let twoy := y + y in twoy = 2 * y -> y <= twoy) -> x <= addx x

To avoid unfolding the term captured by the pattern add x one can use the pattern id (addx x), that would produce the following first subgoal:

(forall y : nat, let twoy := addx y in twoy = 2 * y -> y <= twoy) -> x <= addx x

11.7  Rewriting

The generalized use of reflection implies that most of the intermediate results handled are properties of effectively computable functions. The most efficient mean of establishing such results are computation and simplification of expressions involving such functions, i.e., rewriting. SSReflect therefore includes an extended rewrite tactic, that unifies and combines most of the rewriting functionalities.

11.7.1  An extended rewrite tactic

The main features of the rewrite tactic are:

The general form of an SSReflect rewrite tactic is:

rewrite rstep+.

The combination of a rewrite tactic with the in tactical (see section 11.4.3) performs rewriting in both the context and the goal.

A rewrite step rstep has the general form:



r-prefix::= [-] [mult] [occ-switch | clear-switch] [[r-pattern]]
r-pattern::=term | in [ident in] term | [term in | term as ] ident in term
r-item::=[/]term | s-item

An r-prefix contains annotations to qualify where and how the rewrite operation should be performed:

An r-item can be:

11.7.2  Remarks and examples

Rewrite redex selection

The general strategy of SSReflect is to grasp as many redexes as possible and to let the user select the ones to be rewritten thanks to the improved syntax for the control of rewriting.

This may be a source of incompatibilities between the two rewrite tactics.

In a rewrite tactic of the form:

rewrite occ-switch[term1]term2.

term1 is the explicit rewrite redex and term2 is the rewrite rule. This execution of this tactic unfolds as follows:

In the case term2 is a list of terms, the first top-down (in the goal) left-to-right (in the list) matching rule gets selected.

Chained rewrite steps

The possibility to chain rewrite operations in a single tactic makes scripts more compact and gathers in a single command line a bunch of surgical operations which would be described by a one sentence in a pen and paper proof.

Performing rewrite and simplification operations in a single tactic enhances significantly the concision of scripts. For instance the tactic:

rewrite /my_def {2}[f _]/= my_eq //=.

unfolds my_def in the goal, simplifies the second occurrence of the first subterm matching pattern [f _], rewrites my_eq, simplifies the whole goal and closes trivial goals.

Here are some concrete examples of chained rewrite operations, in the proof of basic results on natural numbers arithmetic:

Lemma addnS : forall m n, m + n.+1 = (m + n).+1. Proof. by move=> m n; elim: m. Qed. Lemma addSnnS : forall m n, m.+1 + n = m + n.+1. Proof. move=> *; rewrite addnS; apply addSn. Qed. Lemma addnCA : forall m n p, m + (n + p) = n + (m + p). Proof. by move=> m n; elim: m => [|m Hrec] p; rewrite ?addSnnS -?addnS. Qed. Lemma addnC : forall m n, m + n = n + m. Proof. by move=> m n; rewrite -{1}[n]addn0 addnCA addn0. Qed.

Note the use of the ? switch for parallel rewrite operations in the proof of |*addnCA*|.

Explicit redex switches are matched first

If an r-prefix involves a redex switch, the first step is to find a subterm matching this redex pattern, independently from the left hand side t1 of the equality the user wants to rewrite.

For instance, if H : forall t ut + u = u + t is in the context of a goal x + y = y + x, the tactic:

rewrite [y + _]H.

transforms the goal into x + y = x + y.

Note that if this first pattern matching is not compatible with the r-item, the rewrite fails, even if the goal contains a correct redex matching both the redex switch and the left hand side of the equality. For instance, if H : forall t ut + u * 0 = t is in the context of a goal x + y * 4 + 2 * 0 = x + 2 * 0, then tactic:

rewrite [x + _]H.

raises the error message:

  User error: rewrite rule H doesn't match redex (x + y * 4)

while the tactic:

rewrite (H _ 2).

transforms the goal into x + y * 4 = x + 2 * 0.

Occurrence switches and redex switches

The tactic:

rewrite {2}[_ + y + 0](_: forall z, z + 0 = z).

transforms the goal:

x + y + 0 = x + y + y + 0 + 0 + (x + y + 0)


x + y + 0 = x + y + y + 0 + 0 + (x + y)

and generates a second subgoal:

forall z : nat, z + 0 = z

The second subgoal is generated by the use of an anonymous lemma in the rewrite tactic. The effect of the tactic on the initial goal is to rewrite this lemma at the second occurrence of the first matching x + y + 0 of the explicit rewrite redex _ + y + 0.

Occurrence selection and repetition

Occurrence selection has priority over repetition switches. This means the repetition of a rewrite tactic specified by a multiplier will perform matching each time an elementary rewrite operation is performed. Repeated rewrite tactics apply to every subgoal generated by the previous tactic, including the previous instances of the repetition. For example:

Goal forall x y z : nat, x + 1 = x + y + 1. move=> x y z.

creates a goal x + 1 = x + y + 1, which is turned into z = z by the additional tactic:

rewrite 2!(_ : _ + 1 = z).

In fact, this last tactic generates three subgoals, respectively x + y + 1 = z, z = z and x + 1 = z. Indeed, the second rewrite operation specified with the 2! multiplier applies to the two subgoals generated by the first rewrite.

Multi-rule rewriting

The rewrite tactic can be provided a tuple of rewrite rules, or more generally a tree of such rules, since this tuple can feature arbitrary inner parentheses. We call multirule such a generalized rewrite rule. This feature is of special interest when it is combined with multiplier switches, which makes the rewrite tactic iterates the rewrite operations prescribed by the rules on the current goal. For instance, let us define two triples multi1 and multi2 as:

Variables (a b c : nat). Hypothesis eqab : a = b. Hypothesis eqac : a = c.

Executing the tactic:

rewrite (eqab, eqac)

on the goal:

========= a = a

turns it into b = b, as rule eqab is the first to apply among the ones gathered in the tuple passed to the rewrite tactic. This multirule (eqab, eqac) is actually a Coq term and we can name it with a definition:

Definition multi1 := (eqab, eqac).

In this case, the tactic rewrite multi1 is a synonym for (eqab, eqac). More precisely, a multirule rewrites the first subterm to which one of the rules applies in a left-to-right traversal of the goal, with the first rule from the multirule tree in left-to-right order. Matching is performed according to the algorithm described in Section 11.4.2, but literal matches have priority. For instance if we add a definition and a new multirule to our context:

Definition d := a. Hypotheses eqd0 : d = 0. Definition multi2 := (eqab, eqd0).

then executing the tactic:

rewrite multi2.

on the goal:

========= d = b

turns it into 0 = b, as rule eqd0 applies without unfolding the definition of d. For repeated rewrites the selection process is repeated anew. For instance, if we define:

Hypothesis eq_adda_b : forall x, x + a = b. Hypothesis eq_adda_c : forall x, x + a = c. Hypothesis eqb0 : b = 0. Definition multi3 := (eq_adda_b, eq_adda_c, eqb0).

then executing the tactic:

rewrite 2!multi3.

on the goal:

========= 1 + a = 12 + a

turns it into 0 = 12 + a: it uses eq_adda_b then eqb0 on the left-hand side only. Now executing the tactic rewrite !multi3 turns the same goal into 0 = 0.

The grouping of rules inside a multirule does not affect the selection strategy but can make it easier to include one rule set in another or to (universally) quantify over the parameters of a subset of rules (as there is special code that will omit unnecessary quantifiers for rules that can be syntactically extracted). It is also possible to reverse the direction of a rule subset, using a special dedicated syntax: the tactic rewrite (=  multi1) is equivalent to rewrite multi1_rev with:

Hypothesis eqba : b = a. Hypothesis eqca : c = a. Definition multi1_rev := (eqba, eqca).

except that the constants eqba, eqab, mult1_rev have not been created.

Rewriting with multirules is useful to implement simplification or transformation procedures, to be applied on terms of small to medium size. For instance the library ssrnat provides two implementations for arithmetic operations on natural numbers: an elementary one and a tail recursive version, less inefficient but also less convenient for reasoning purposes. The library also provides one lemma per such operation, stating that both versions return the same values when applied to the same arguments:

Lemma addE : add =2 addn. Lemma doubleE : double =1 doublen. Lemma add_mulE n m s : add_mul n m s = addn (muln n m) s. Lemma mulE : mul =2 muln. Lemma mul_expE m n p : mul_exp m n p = muln (expn m n) p. Lemma expE : exp =2 expn. Lemma oddE : odd =1 oddn.

The operation on the left hand side of each lemma is the efficient version, and the corresponding naive implementation is on the right hand side. In order to reason conveniently on expressions involving the efficient operations, we gather all these rules in the definition |*trecE*|:

Definition trecE := (addE, (doubleE, oddE), (mulE, add_mulE, (expE, mul_expE))).

The tactic:

rewrite !trecE.

restores the naive versions of each operation in a goal involving the efficient ones, e.g. for the purpose of a correctness proof.

Wildcards vs abstractions

The rewrite tactic supports r-items containing holes. For example in the tactic (1):

rewrite (_ : _ * 0 = 0).

the term _ * 0 = 0 is interpreted as forall n : nat, n * 0 = 0. Anyway this tactic is not equivalent to the tactic (2):

rewrite (_ : forall x, x * 0 = 0).

The tactic (1) transforms the goal (y * 0) + y * (z * 0) = 0 into y * (z * 0) = 0 and generates a new subgoal to prove the statement y * 0 = 0, which is the instance of the
forall x, x * 0 = 0 rewrite rule that has been used to perform the rewriting. On the other hand, tactic (2) performs the same rewriting on the current goal but generates a subgoal to prove forall x, x * 0 = 0.

When SSReflect rewrite fails on standard Coq licit rewrite

In a few cases, the SSReflect rewrite tactic fails rewriting some redexes which standard Coq successfully rewrites. There are two main cases:

Existential metavariables and rewriting

The rewrite tactic will not instantiate existing existential metavariables when matching a redex pattern.

If a rewrite rule generates a goal with new existential metavariables, these will be generalized as for apply (see page ??) and corresponding new goals will be generated. For example, consider the following script:

Lemma ex3 (x : 'I_2) y (le_1 : y < 1) (E : val x = y) : Some x = insub y. rewrite insubT ?(leq_trans le_1)// => le_2.

Since insubT has the following type:

forall T P (sT : subType P) (x : T) (Px : P x), insub x = Some (Sub x Px)

and since the implicit argument corresponding to the Px abstraction is not supplied by the user, the resulting goal should be Some x = Some (Sub y   ?Px). Instead, SSReflect rewrite tactic generates the two following goals:

y < 2 forall Hyp0 : y < 2, Some x = Some (Sub y Hyp0)

The script closes the former with ?(leq_trans le_1)//, then it introduces the new generalization naming it le_2.

x : 'I_2 y : nat le_1 : y < 1 E : val x = y le_2 : y < 2 ============================ Some x = Some (Sub y le_2)

As a temporary limitation, this behavior is available only if the rewriting rule is stated using Leibniz equality (as opposed to setoid relations). It will be extended to other rewriting relations in the future.

11.7.3  Locking, unlocking

As program proofs tend to generate large goals, it is important to be able to control the partial evaluation performed by the simplification operations that are performed by the tactics. These evaluations can for example come from a /= simplification switch, or from rewrite steps which may expand large terms while performing conversion. We definitely want to avoid repeating large subterms of the goal in the proof script. We do this by “clamping down” selected function symbols in the goal, which prevents them from being considered in simplification or rewriting steps. This clamping is accomplished by using the occurrence switches (see section 11.4.2) together with “term tagging” operations.

SSReflect provides two levels of tagging.

The first one uses auxiliary definitions to introduce a provably equal copy of any term t. However this copy is (on purpose) not convertible to t in the Coq system8. The job is done by the following construction:

Lemma master_key : unit. Proof. exact tt. Qed. Definition locked A := let: tt := master_key in fun x : A => x. Lemma lock : forall A x, x = locked x :> A.

Note that the definition of |*master_key*| is explicitly opaque. The equation t = locked t given by the lock lemma can be used for selective rewriting, blocking on the fly the reduction in the term t. For example the script:

Require Import List. Variable A : Type. Fixpoint my_has (p : A -> bool)(l : list A){struct l} : bool:= match l with |nil => false |cons x l => p x || (my_has p l) end. Goal forall a x y l, a x = true -> my_has a ( x :: y :: l) = true. move=> a x y l Hax.

where || denotes the boolean disjunction, results in a goal my_has a ( x :: y :: l) = true. The tactic:

rewrite {2}[cons]lock /= -lock.

turns it into a x || my_has a (y :: l) = true. Let us now start by reducing the initial goal without blocking reduction. The script:

Goal forall a x y l, a x = true -> my_has a ( x :: y :: l) = true. move=> a x y l Hax /=.

creates a goal (a x) || (a y) || (my_has a l) = true. Now the tactic:

rewrite {1}[orb]lock orbC -lock.

where orbC states the commutativity of orb, changes the goal into
(a x) || (my_has a l) || (a y) = true: only the arguments of the second disjunction where permuted.

It is sometimes desirable to globally prevent a definition from being expanded by simplification; this is done by adding locked in the definition.

For instance, the function |*fgraph_of_fun*| maps a function whose domain and codomain are finite types to a concrete representation of its (finite) graph. Whatever implementation of this transformation we may use, we want it to be hidden to simplifications and tactics, to avoid the collapse of the graph object:

Definition fgraph_of_fun := locked (fun (d1 :finType) (d2 :eqType) (f : d1 -> d2) => Fgraph (size_maps f _)).

We provide a special tactic unlock for unfolding such definitions while removing “locks”, e.g., the tactic:

unlock occ-switchfgraph_of_fun.

replaces the occurrence(s) of fgraph_of_fun coded by the occ-switch with (Fgraph (size_maps _ _)) in the goal.

We found that it was usually preferable to prevent the expansion of some functions by the partial evaluation switch “/=”, unless this allowed the evaluation of a condition. This is possible thanks to an other mechanism of term tagging, resting on the following Notation:

Notation "'nosimpl' t" := (let: tt := tt in t).

The term (nosimpl t) simplifies to t except in a definition. More precisely, given:

Definition foo := (nosimpl bar).

the term foo (or (foo t’)) will not be expanded by the simpl tactic unless it is in a forcing context (e.g., in match foo t’ with end, foo t’ will be reduced if this allows match to be reduced). Note that nosimpl bar is simply notation for a term that reduces to bar; hence unfold foo will replace foo by bar, and fold foo will replace bar by foo.

Warning The nosimpl trick only works if no reduction is apparent in t; in particular, the declaration:

Definition foo x := nosimpl (bar x).

will usually not work. Anyway, the common practice is to tag only the function, and to use the following definition, which blocks the reduction as expected:

Definition foo x := nosimpl bar x.

A standard example making this technique shine is the case of arithmetic operations. We define for instance:

Definition addn := nosimpl plus.

The operation addn behaves exactly like plus, except that (addn (S n) m) will not simplify spontaneously to (S (addn n m)) (the two terms, however, are inter-convertible). In addition, the unfolding step:

rewrite /addn

will replace addn directly with plus, so the nosimpl form is essentially invisible.

11.7.4  Congruence

Because of the way matching interferes with type families parameters, the tactic:

apply: my_congr_property.

will generally fail to perform congruence simplification, even on rather simple cases. We therefore provide a more robust alternative in which the function is supplied:

congr [intterm

This tactic:

The goal can be a non dependent product P -> Q. In that case, the system asserts the equation P = Q, uses it to solve the goal, and calls the congr tactic on the remaining goal P = Q. This can be useful for instance to perform a transitivity step, like in the following situation:

x, y, z : nat =============== x = y -> x = z

the tactic congr (_ = _) turns this goal into:

x, y, z : nat =============== y = z

which can also be obtained starting from:

x, y, z : nat h : x = y =============== x = z

and using the tactic congr (_ = _): h.

The optional int forces the number of arguments for which the tactic should generate equality proof obligations.

This tactic supports equalities between applications with dependent arguments. Yet dependent arguments should have exactly the same parameters on both sides, and these parameters should appear as first arguments.

The following script:

Definition f n := match n with 0 => plus | S _ => mult end. Definition g (n m : nat) := plus. Goal forall x y, f 0 x y = g 1 1 x y. by move=> x y; congr plus. Qed.

shows that the congr tactic matches plus with f 0 on the left hand side and g 1 1 on the right hand side, and solves the goal.

The script:

Goal forall n m, m <= n -> S m + (S n - S m) = S n. move=> n m Hnm; congr S; rewrite -/plus.

generates the subgoal m + (S n - S m) = n. The tactic rewrite -/plus folds back the expansion of plus which was necessary for matching both sides of the equality with an application of S.

Like most SSReflect arguments, term can contain wildcards. The script:

Goal forall x y, x + (y * (y + x - x)) = x * 1 + (y + 0) * y. move=> x y; congr ( _ + (_ * _)).

generates three subgoals, respectively x = x * 1, y = y + 0 and y + x - x = y.

11.8  Contextual patterns

The simple form of patterns used so far, terms possibly containing wild cards, often require an additional occ-switch to be specified. While this may work pretty fine for small goals, the use of polymorphic functions and dependent types may lead to an invisible duplication of functions arguments. These copies usually end up in types hidden by the implicit arguments machinery or by user defined notations. In these situations computing the right occurrence numbers is very tedious because they must be counted on the goal as printed after setting the Printing All flag. Moreover the resulting script is not really informative for the reader, since it refers to occurrence numbers he cannot easily see.

Contextual patterns mitigate these issues allowing to specify occurrences according to the context they occur in.

11.8.1  Syntax

The following table summarizes the full syntax of c-pattern and the corresponding subterm(s) identified by the pattern. In the third column we use s.m.r. for “the subterms matching the redex” specified in the second column.

c-patternredexsubterms affected
termtermall occurrences of term
ident in term subterm of term selected by ident all the subterms identified by ident in all the occurrences of term
term1 in ident in term2term1 in all s.m.r. in all the subterms identified by ident in all the occurrences of term2
term1 as ident in term2term1 in all the subterms identified by ident in all the occurrences of term2[term1/ident]

The rewrite tactic supports two more patterns obtained prefixing the first two with in. The intended meaning is that the pattern identifies all subterms of the specified context. The rewrite tactic will infer a pattern for the redex looking at the rule used for rewriting.

r-patternredexsubterms affected
in terminferred from rule in all s.m.r. in all occurrences of term
in ident in terminferred from rule in all s.m.r. in all the subterms identified by ident in all the occurrences of term

The first c-pattern is the simplest form matching any context but selecting a specific redex and has been described in the previous sections. We have seen so far that the possibility of selecting a redex using a term with holes is already a powerful mean of redex selection. Similarly, any terms provided by the user in the more complex forms of c-patterns presented in the tables above can contain holes.

For a quick glance at what can be expressed with the last r-pattern consider the goal a = b and the tactic

rewrite [in X in _ = X]rule.

It rewrites all occurrences of the left hand side of rule inside b only (a, and the hidden type of the equality, are ignored). Note that the variant rewrite [X in _ = X]rule would have rewritten b exactly (i.e., it would only work if b and the left hand side of rule can be unified).

11.8.2  Matching contextual patterns

The c-patterns and r-patterns involving terms with holes are matched against the goal in order to find a closed instantiation. This matching proceeds as follows:

c-patterninstantiation order and place for termi and redex
termterm is matched against the goal, redex is unified with the instantiation of term
ident in term term is matched against the goal, redex is unified with the subterm of the instantiation of term identified by ident
term1 in ident in term2 term2 is matched against the goal, term1 is matched against the subterm of the instantiation of term1 identified by ident, redex is unified with the instantiation of term1
term1 as ident in term2 term2[term1/ident] is matched against the goal, redex is unified with the instantiation of term1

In the following patterns, the redex is intended to be inferred from the rewrite rule.

r-patterninstantiation order and place for termi and redex
in ident in term term is matched against the goal, the redex is matched against the subterm of the instantiation of term identified by ident
in termterm is matched against the goal, redex is matched against the instantiation of term

11.8.3  Examples

Contextual pattern in set and the : tactical

As already mentioned in section 11.4.2 the set tactic takes as an argument a term in open syntax. This term is interpreted as the simplest for of c-pattern. To void confusion in the grammar, open syntax is supported only for the simplest form of patterns, while parentheses are required around more complex patterns.

set t := (X in _ = X). set t := (a + _ in X in _ = X).

Given the goal a + b + 1 = b + (a + 1) the first tactic captures b + (a + 1), while the latter a + 1.

Since the user may define an infix notation for in the former tactic may result ambiguous. The disambiguation rule implemented is to prefer patterns over simple terms, but to interpret a pattern with double parentheses as a simple term. For example the following tactic would capture any occurrence of the term ‘a in A’.

set t := ((a in A)).

Contextual pattern can also be used as arguments of the : tactical. For example:

elim: n (n in _ = n) (refl_equal n).

Contextual patterns in rewrite

As a more comprehensive example consider the following goal:

(x.+1 + y) + f (x.+1 + y) (z + (x + y).+1) = 0

The tactic rewrite [in f _ _]addSn turns it into:

(x.+1 + y) + f (x + y).+1 (z + (x + y).+1) = 0

since the simplification rule addSn is applied only under the f symbol. Then we simplify also the first addition and expand 0 into 0+0.

rewrite addSn -[X in _ = X]addn0.


(x + y).+1 + f (x + y).+1 (z + (x + y).+1) = 0 + 0

Note that the right hand side of addn0 is undetermined, but the rewrite pattern specifies the redex explicitly. The right hand side of addn0 is unified with the term identified by X, 0 here.

The following pattern does not specify a redex, since it identifies an entire region, hence the rewrite rule has to be instantiated explicitly. Thus the tactic:

rewrite -{2}[in X in _ = X](addn0 0).

changes the goal as follows:

(x + y).+1 + f (x + y).+1 (z + (x + y).+1) = 0 + (0 + 0)

The following tactic is quite tricky:

rewrite [_.+1 in X in f _ X](addnC x.+1).

and the resulting goals is:

(x + y).+1 + f (x + y).+1 (z + (y + x.+1)) = 0 + (0 + 0)

The explicit redex _.+1 is important since its head constant S differs from the head constant inferred from (addnC x.+1) (that is addn, denoted + here). Moreover, the pattern f _ X is important to rule out the first occurrence of (x + y).+1. Last, only the subterms of f _ X identified by X are rewritten, thus the first argument of f is skipped too. Also note the pattern _.+1 is interpreted in the context identified by X, thus it gets instantiated to (y + x).+1 and not (x + y).+1.

The last rewrite pattern allows to specify exactly the shape of the term identified by X, that is thus unified with the left hand side of the rewrite rule.

rewrite [x.+1 + y as X in f X _]addnC.

The resulting goal is:

(x + y).+1 + f (y + x.+1) (z + (y + x.+1)) = 0 + (0 + 0)

11.8.4  Patterns for recurrent contexts

The user can define shortcuts for recurrent contexts corresponding to the ident in term part. The notation scope identified with %pattern provides a special notation ‘(X in t)’ the user must adopt to define context shortcuts.

The following example is taken from ssreflect.v where the LHS and RHS shortcuts are defined.

Notation RHS := (X in _ = X)%pattern. Notation LHS := (X in X = _)%pattern.

Shortcuts defined this way can be freely used in place of the trailing ident in term part of any contextual pattern. Some examples follow:

set rhs := RHS. rewrite [in RHS]rule. case: (a + _ in RHS).

11.9  Views and reflection

The bookkeeping facilities presented in section 11.5 are crafted to ease simultaneous introductions and generalizations of facts and casing, naming … operations. It also a common practice to make a stack operation immediately followed by an interpretation of the fact being pushed, that is, to apply a lemma to this fact before passing it to a tactic for decomposition, application and so on.

SSReflect provides a convenient, unified syntax to combine these interpretation operations with the proof stack operations. This view mechanism relies on the combination of the / view switch with bookkeeping tactics and tacticals.

11.9.1  Interpreting eliminations

The view syntax combined with the elim tactic specifies an elimination scheme to be used instead of the default, generated, one. Hence the SSReflect tactic:


is a synonym for:

intro top; elim top using V; clear top.

where top is a fresh name and V any second-order lemma.

Since an elimination view supports the two bookkeeping tacticals of discharge and introduction (see section 11.5), the SSReflect tactic:

elim/V: x => y.

is a synonym for:

elim x using V; clear x; intro y.

where x is a variable in the context, y a fresh name and V any second order lemma; SSReflect relaxes the syntactic restrictions of the Coq elim. The first pattern following : can be a _ wildcard if the conclusion of the view V specifies a pattern for its last argument (e.g., if V is a functional induction lemma generated by the Function command).

The elimination view mechanism is compatible with the equation name generation (see section 11.5.5).

The following script illustrate a toy example of this feature. Let us define a function adding an element at the end of a list:

Require Import List. Variable d : Type. Fixpoint add_last(s : list d) (z : d) {struct s} : list d := match s with | nil => z :: nil | cons x s' => cons x (add_last s' z) end.

One can define an alternative, reversed, induction principle on inductively defined lists, by proving the following lemma:

Lemma last_ind_list : forall (P : list d -> Type), P nil -> (forall (s : list d) (x : d), P s -> P (add_last s x)) -> forall s : list d, P s.

Then the combination of elimination views with equation names result in a concise syntax for reasoning inductively using the user defined elimination scheme. The script:

Goal forall (x : d)(l : list d), l = l. move=> x l. elim/last_ind_list E : l=> [| u v]; last first.

generates two subgoals: the first one to prove nil = nil in a context featuring E : l = nil and the second to prove add_last u v = add_last u v, in a context containing E : l = add_last u v.

User provided eliminators (potentially generated with the Function Coq’s command) can be combined with the type family switches described in section 11.5.6. Consider an eliminator foo_ind of type:

foo_ind : forall , forall x : T, P p1 pm

and consider the tactic

elim/foo_ind: e1 / en

The elim/ tactic distinguishes two cases:

truncated eliminator
when x does not occur in P p1 pm and the type of en unifies with T and en is not _. In that case, en is passed to the eliminator as the last argument (x in foo_ind) and en−1 e1 are used as patterns to select in the goal the occurrences that will be bound by the predicate P, thus it must be possible to unify the sub-term of the goal matched by en−1 with pm, the one matched by en−2 with pm−1 and so on.
regular eliminator
in all the other cases. Here it must be possible to unify the term matched by en with pm, the one matched by en−1 with pm−1 and so on. Note that standard eliminators have the shape …forall x, P x, thus en is the pattern identifying the eliminated term, as expected.

As explained in section 11.5.6, the initial prefix of ei can be omitted.

Here an example of a regular, but non trivial, eliminator:

Function plus (m n : nat) {struct n} : nat := match n with 0 => m | S p => S (plus m p) end.

The type of plus_ind is

plus_ind : forall (m : nat) (P : nat -> nat -> Prop), (forall n : nat, n = 0 -> P 0 m) -> (forall n p : nat, n = p.+1 -> P p (plus m p) -> P p.+1 (plus m p).+1) -> forall n : nat, P n (plus m n)

Consider the following goal

Lemma exF x y z: plus (plus x y) z = plus x (plus y z).

The following tactics are all valid and perform the same elimination on that goal.

elim/plus_ind: z / (plus _ z). elim/plus_ind: {z}(plus _ z). elim/plus_ind: {z}_. elim/plus_ind: z / _.

In the two latter examples, being the user provided pattern a wildcard, the pattern inferred from the type of the eliminator is used instead. For both cases it is (plus _ _) and matches the subterm plus (plus x y) z thus instantiating the latter _ with z. Note that the tactic elim/plus_ind: y / _ would have resulted in an error, since y and z do no unify but the type of the eliminator requires the second argument of P to be the same as the second argument of plus in the second argument of P.

Here an example of a truncated eliminator. Consider the goal

p : nat_eqType n : nat n_gt0 : 0 < n pr_p : prime p ================= p %| \prod_(i <- prime_decomp n | i \in prime_decomp n) i.1 ^ i.2 -> exists2 x : nat * nat, x \in prime_decomp n & p = x.1

and the tactic

elim/big_prop: _ => [| u v IHu IHv | [q e] /=].

where the type of the eliminator is

big_prop: forall (R : Type) (Pb : R -> Type) (idx : R) (op1 : R -> R -> R), Pb idx -> (forall x y : R, Pb x -> Pb y -> Pb (op1 x y)) -> forall (I : Type) (r : seq I) (P : pred I) (F : I -> R), (forall i : I, P i -> Pb (F i)) -> Pb (\big[op1/idx]_(i <- r | P i) F i)

Since the pattern for the argument of Pb is not specified, the inferred one is used instead: (
big[_/_]_(i <- _ | _ i) _ i)
, and after the introductions, the following goals are generated.

subgoal 1 is: p %| 1 -> exists2 x : nat * nat, x \in prime_decomp n & p = x.1 subgoal 2 is: p %| u * v -> exists2 x : nat * nat, x \in prime_decomp n & p = x.1 subgoal 3 is: (q, e) \in prime_decomp n -> p %| q ^ e -> exists2 x : nat * nat, x \in prime_decomp n & p = x.1

Note that the pattern matching algorithm instantiated all the variables occurring in the pattern.

11.9.2  Interpreting assumptions

Interpreting an assumption in the context of a proof is applying it a correspondence lemma before generalizing, and/or decomposing it. For instance, with the extensive use of boolean reflection (see section 11.9.4), it is quite frequent to need to decompose the logical interpretation of (the boolean expression of) a fact, rather than the fact itself. This can be achieved by a combination of move : _ => _ switches, like in the following script, where || is a notation for the boolean disjunction:

Variables P Q : bool -> Prop. Hypothesis P2Q : forall a b, P (a || b) -> Q a. Goal forall a, P (a || a) -> True. move=> a HPa; move: {HPa}(P2Q _ _ HPa) => HQa.

which transforms the hypothesis HPn : P n which has been introduced from the initial statement into HQn : Q n. This operation is so common that the tactic shell has specific syntax for it. The following scripts:

Goal forall a, P (a || a) -> True. move=> a HPa; move/P2Q: HPa => HQa.

or more directly:

Goal forall a, P (a || a) -> True. move=> a; move/P2Q=> HQa.

are equivalent to the former one. The former script shows how to interpret a fact (already in the context), thanks to the discharge tactical (see section 11.5.3) and the latter, how to interpret the top assumption of a goal. Note that the number of wildcards to be inserted to find the correct application of the view lemma to the hypothesis has been automatically inferred.

The view mechanism is compatible with the case tactic and with the equation name generation mechanism (see section 11.5.5):

Variables P Q: bool -> Prop. Hypothesis Q2P : forall a b, Q (a || b) -> P a \/ P b. Goal forall a b, Q (a || b) -> True. move=> a b; case/Q2P=> [HPa | HPb].

creates two new subgoals whose contexts no more contain HQ : Q (a || b) but respectively HPa : P a and HPb : P b. This view tactic performs:

move=> a b HQ; case: {HQ}(Q2P _ _ HQ) => [HPa | HPb].

The term on the right of the / view switch is called a view lemma. Any SSReflect term coercing to a product type can be used as a view lemma.

The examples we have given so far explicitly provide the direction of the translation to be performed. In fact, view lemmas need not to be oriented. The view mechanism is able to detect which application is relevant for the current goal. For instance, the script:

Variables P Q: bool -> Prop. Hypothesis PQequiv : forall a b, P (a || b) <-> Q a. Goal forall a b, P (a || b) -> True. move=> a b; move/PQequiv=> HQab.

has the same behavior as the first example above.

The view mechanism can insert automatically a view hint to transform the double implication into the expected simple implication. The last script is in fact equivalent to:

Goal forall a b, P (a || b) -> True. move=> a b; move/(iffLR (PQequiv _ _)).


Lemma iffLR : forall P Q, (P <-> Q) -> P -> Q.

Specializing assumptions

The special case when the head symbol of the view lemma is a wildcard is used to interpret an assumption by specializing it. The view mechanism hence offers the possibility to apply a higher-order assumption to some given arguments.

For example, the script:

Goal forall z, (forall x y, x + y = z -> z = x) -> z = 0. move=> z; move/(_ 0 z).

changes the goal into:

(0 + z = z -> z = 0) -> z = 0

11.9.3  Interpreting goals

In a similar way, it is also often convenient to interpret a goal by changing it into an equivalent proposition. The view mechanism of SSReflect has a special syntax apply/ for combining simultaneous goal interpretation operations and bookkeeping steps in a single tactic.

With the hypotheses of section 11.9.2, the following script, where ~~ denotes the boolean negation:

Goal forall a, P ((~~ a) || a). move=> a; apply/PQequiv.

transforms the goal into Q (   a), and is equivalent to:

Goal forall a, P ((~~ a) || a). move=> a; apply: (iffRL (PQequiv _ _)).

where iffLR is the analogous of iffRL for the converse implication.

Any SSReflect term whose type coerces to a double implication can be used as a view for goal interpretation.

Note that the goal interpretation view mechanism supports both apply and exact tactics. As expected, a goal interpretation view command exact/term should solve the current goal or it will fail.

Warning Goal interpretation view tactics are not compatible with the bookkeeping tactical => since this would be redundant with the apply: term => _ construction.

11.9.4  Boolean reflection

In the Calculus of Inductive Construction, there is an obvious distinction between logical propositions and boolean values. On the one hand, logical propositions are objects of sort Prop which is the carrier of intuitionistic reasoning. Logical connectives in Prop are types, which give precise information on the structure of their proofs; this information is automatically exploited by Coq tactics. For example, Coq knows that a proof of A \/ B is either a proof of A or a proof of B. The tactics left and right change the goal A \/ B to A and B, respectively; dualy, the tactic case reduces the goal A \/ B => G to two subgoals A => G and B => G.

On the other hand, bool is an inductive datatype with two constructors true and false. Logical connectives on bool are computable functions, defined by their truth tables, using case analysis:

Definition (b1 || b2) := if b1 then true else b2.

Properties of such connectives are also established using case analysis: the tactic by case: b solves the goal

b || ~~ b = true

by replacing b first by true and then by false; in either case, the resulting subgoal reduces by computation to the trivial true = true.

Thus, Prop and bool are truly complementary: the former supports robust natural deduction, the latter allows brute-force evaluation. SSReflect supplies a generic mechanism to have the best of the two worlds and move freely from a propositional version of a decidable predicate to its boolean version.

First, booleans are injected into propositions using the coercion mechanism:

Coercion is_true (b : bool) := b = true.

This allows any boolean formula b to be used in a context where Coq would expect a proposition, e.g., after Lemma : . It is then interpreted as (is_true b), i.e., the proposition b = true. Coercions are elided by the pretty-printer, so they are essentially transparent to the user.

11.9.5  The reflect predicate

To get all the benefits of the boolean reflection, it is in fact convenient to introduce the following inductive predicate reflect to relate propositions and booleans:

Inductive reflect (P: Prop): bool -> Type := | Reflect_true: P => reflect P true | Reflect_false: ~P => reflect P false.

The statement (reflect P b) asserts that (is_true b) and P are logically equivalent propositions.

For instance, the following lemma:

Lemma andP: forall b1 b2, reflect (b1 /\ b2) (b1 && b2).

relates the boolean conjunction to the logical one /\. Note that in andP, b1 and b2 are two boolean variables and the proposition b1 /\ b2 hides two coercions. The conjunction of b1 and b2 can then be viewed as b1 /\ b2 or as b1b2.

Expressing logical equivalences through this family of inductive types makes possible to take benefit from rewritable equations associated to the case analysis of Coq’s inductive types.

Since the equivalence predicate is defined in Coq as:

Definition iff (A B:Prop) := (A -> B) /\ (B -> A).

where /
is a notation for and:

Inductive and (A B:Prop) : Prop := conj : A -> B -> and A B

This make case analysis very different according to the way an equivalence property has been defined.

For instance, if we have proved the lemma:

Lemma andE: forall b1 b2, (b1 /\ b2) <-> (b1 && b2).

let us compare the respective behaviours of andE and andP on a goal:

Goal forall b1 b2, if (b1 && b2) then b1 else ~~(b1||b2).

The command:

move=> b1 b2; case (@andE b1 b2).

generates a single subgoal:

(b1 && b2 -> b1 /\ b2) -> (b1 /\ b2 -> b1 && b2) -> if b1 && b2 then b1 else ~~ (b1 || b2)

while the command:

move=> b1 b2; case (@andP b1 b2).

generates two subgoals, respectively b1 /\ b2 -> b1 and ~ (b1 /\ b2) -> ~~ (b1 || b2).

Expressing reflection relation through the reflect predicate is hence a very convenient way to deal with classical reasoning, by case analysis. Using the reflect predicate allows moreover to program rich specifications inside its two constructors, which will be automatically taken into account during destruction. This formalisation style gives far more efficient specifications than quantified (double) implications.

A naming convention in SSReflect is to postfix the name of view lemmas with P. For example, orP relates || and \/, negP relates ~~ and ~.

The view mechanism is compatible with reflect predicates.

For example, the script

Goal forall a b : bool, a -> b -> a /\\ b. move=> a b Ha Hb; apply/andP.

changes the goal a /\ b to ab (see section 11.9.3).

Conversely, the script

Goal forall a b : bool, a /\ b -> a. move=> a b; move/andP.

changes the goal a /\ b -> a into ab -> a (see section 11.9.2).

The same tactics can also be used to perform the converse operation, changing a boolean conjunction into a logical one. The view mechanism guesses the direction of the transformation to be used i.e., the constructor of the reflect predicate which should be chosen.

11.9.6  General mechanism for interpreting goals and assumptions

Specializing assumptions

The SSReflect tactic:

move/(_ term1termn)

is equivalent to the tactic:

intro top; generalize (top term1termn); clear top.

where top is a fresh name for introducing the top assumption of the current goal.

Interpreting assumptions

The general form of an assumption view tactic is:

[move | case] / term0

The term term0, called the view lemma can be:

Let top be the top assumption in the goal.

There are three steps in the behaviour of an assumption view tactic:

For a case/term0 tactic, the generalisation step is replaced by a case analysis step.

View hints are declared by the user (see section 11.9.8) and are stored in the Hint View database. The proof engine automatically detects from the shape of the top assumption top and of the view lemma term0 provided to the tactic the appropriate view hint in the database to be inserted.

If term0 is a double implication, then the view hint A will be one of the defined view hints for implication. These hints are by default the ones present in the file ssreflect.v:

Lemma iffLR : forall P Q, (P <-> Q) -> P -> Q.

which transforms a double implication into the left-to-right one, or:

Lemma iffRL : forall P Q, (P <-> Q) -> Q -> P.

which produces the converse implication. In both cases, the two first Prop arguments are implicit.

If term0 is an instance of the reflect predicate, then A will be one of the defined view hints for the reflect predicate, which are by default the ones present in the file ssrbool.v. These hints are not only used for choosing the appropriate direction of the translation, but they also allow complex transformation, involving negations. For instance the hint:

Lemma introN : forall (P : Prop) (b : bool), reflect P b -> ~ P -> ~~ b.

makes the following script:

Goal forall a b : bool, a -> b -> ~~ (a && b). move=> a b Ha Hb. apply/andP.

transforms the goal into (a / b). In fact9 this last script does not exactly use the hint introN, but the more general hint:

Lemma introNTF : forall (P : Prop) (b c : bool), reflect P b -> (if c then ~ P else P) -> ~~ b = c

The lemma introN is an instantiation of introNF using c := true.

Note that views, being part of i-pattern, can be used to interpret assertions too. For example the following script asserts a && b but actually used its propositional interpretation.

Lemma test (a b : bool) (pab : b && a) : b. have /andP [pa ->] : (a && b) by rewrite andbC.

Interpreting goals

A goal interpretation view tactic of the form:

apply/ term0

applied to a goal top is interpreted in the following way:

Like assumption interpretation view hints, goal interpretation ones are user defined lemmas stored (see section 11.9.8) in the Hint View database bridging the possible gap between the type of term0 and the type of the goal.

11.9.7  Interpreting equivalences

Equivalent boolean propositions are simply equal boolean terms. A special construction helps the user to prove boolean equalities by considering them as logical double implications (between their coerced versions), while performing at the same time logical operations on both sides.

The syntax of double views is:

apply/ terml / termr

The term terml is the view lemma applied to the left hand side of the equality, termr is the one applied to the right hand side.

In this context, the identity view:

Lemma idP : reflect b1 b1.

is useful, for example the tactic:


transforms the goal ~~ (b1 || b2)= b3 into two subgoals, respectively ~~  (b1 || b2) -> b3 and
b3 -> ~~  (b1 || b2).

The same goal can be decomposed in several ways, and the user may choose the most convenient interpretation. For instance, the tactic:


applied on the same goal ~~ (b1 || b2) = b3 generates the subgoals ~~  b1 /\ ~~  b2 -> b3 and
b3 -> ~~  b1 /\ ~~  b2.

11.9.8  Declaring new Hint Views

The database of hints for the view mechanism is extensible via a dedicated vernacular command. As library ssrbool.v already declares a corpus of hints, this feature is probably useful only for users who define their own logical connectives. Users can declare their own hints following the syntax used in ssrbool.v:

Hint View for tactic / ident [|natural]

where tactic∈ {move, apply}, ident is the name of the lemma to be declared as a hint, and natural a natural number. If move is used as tactic, the hint is declared for assumption interpretation tactics, apply declares hints for goal interpretations. Goal interpretation view hints are declared for both simple views and left hand side views. The optional natural number natural is the number of implicit arguments to be considered for the declared hint view lemma name_of_the_lemma.

The command:

Hint View for apply// ident[|natural].

with a double slash //, declares hint views for right hand sides of double views.

See the files ssreflect.v and ssrbool.v for examples.

11.9.9  Multiple views

The hypotheses and the goal can be interpreted applying multiple views in sequence. Both move and apply can be followed by an arbitrary number of /termi. The main difference between the following two tactics

apply/v1/v2/v3. apply/v1; apply/v2; apply/v3.

is that the former applies all the views to the principal goal. Applying a view with hypotheses generates new goals, and the second line would apply the view v2 to all the goals generated by apply/v1. Note that the NO-OP intro pattern - can be used to separate two views, making the two following examples equivalent:

move=> /v1; move=> /v2. move=> /v1-/v2.

The tactic move can be used together with the in tactical to pass a given hypothesis to a lemma. For example, if P2Q : P -> Q and Q2R : Q -> R, the following tactic turns the hypothesis p : P into P : R.

move/P2Q/Q2R in p.

If the list of views is of length two, Hint Views for interpreting equivalences are indeed taken into account, otherwise only single Hint Views are used.

11.10  SSReflect searching tool

SSReflect proposes an extension of the Search command. Its syntax is:

Search [pattern] [[] [string[%key] | pattern]]* [in [[] name ]+]

where name is the name of an open module. This command search returns the list of lemmas:

Note that:

11.11  Synopsis and Index


d-tactic one of the elim, case, congr, apply, exact and move SSReflect tactics
fix-body standard Coq fix_body
ident standard Coq identifier
int integer literal
key notation scope
name module name
natural int or Ltac variable denoting a standard Coq numeral1
pattern synonym for term
string standard Coq string
tactic standard Coq tactic or SSReflect tactic
term   Gallina term, possibly containing wildcards

The name of this Ltac variable should not be the name of a tactic which can be followed by a bracket [, like do,  have,…

Items and switches

binderident | ( ident [: term ] )binderp. ??
clear-switch{ ident+ }clear switchp. ??
c-pattern[term in | term as] ident in termcontext patternp. ??
d-item[occ-switch | clear-switch] [term | (c-pattern)]discharge itemp. ??
gen-item[@]ident | (ident) | ([@]ident := c-pattern)generalization itemp. ??
i-patternident | _ | ? | * | [occ-switch]-> | [occ-switch]<- |intro patternp. ??
 [ i-item* || i-item* ] | - | [: ident+] 
i-itemclear-switch | s-item | i-pattern | /termintro itemp. ??
int-mult[natural] mult-markmultiplierp. ??
occ-switch{ [+ | -] natural*}occur. switchp. ??
mult[natural] mult-markmultiplierp. ??
mult-mark? | !multiplier markp. ??
r-item[/] term | s-itemrewrite itemp. ??
r-prefix[-] [int-mult] [occ-switch | clear-switch] [[r-pattern]]rewrite prefixp. ??
r-patternterm | c-pattern | in [ident in] termrewrite patternp. ??
r-step[r-prefix]r-itemrewrite stepp. ??
s-item/= | // | //=simplify switchp. ??


Note: without loss and suffices are synonyms for wlog and suff respectively.

moveidtac or hnfp. ??
applyapplicationp. ??
abstract p. ??, ??
eliminductionp. ??
casecase analysisp. ??
rewrite rstep+rewritep. ??
have i-item* [i-pattern] [s-item | binder+] [: term] := termforwardp. ??
have i-item* [i-pattern] [s-item| binder+] : term [by tactic]chaining 
have suff [clear-switch] [i-pattern] [: term] := term  
have suff [clear-switch] [i-pattern] : term [by tactic]  
gen have [ident,] [i-pattern] : gen-item+ / term [by tactic]  
wlog [suff] [i-item] : [gen-item| clear-switch]* / termspecializingp. ??
suff i-item* [i-pattern] [binder+] : term [by tactic]backchainingp. ??
suff [have] [clear-switch] [i-pattern] : term [by tactic]  
pose ident := termlocal definitionp. ??
pose ident binder+ := termlocal function definition 
pose fix fix-bodylocal fix definition 
pose cofix fix-bodylocal cofix definition 
set ident [: term] := [occ-switch] [term| (c-pattern)]abbreviationp. ??
unlock [r-prefix]ident]*unlockp. ??
congr [natural] termcongruencep. ??


d-tactic [ident] : d-item+ [clear-switch] dischargep. ??
tactic => i-item+ introductionp. ??
tactic in [gen-item | clear-switch]+ [*] localizationp. ??
do [mult] [ tactic || tactic ] iterationp. ??
do mult tactic   
tactic ; first [natural] [tactic || tactic] selectorp. ??
tactic ; last [natural] [tactic || tactic]
tactic ; first [natural] last subgoalsp. ??
tactic ; last [natural] first rotation 
by [ tactic || tactic ] closingp. ??
by []
by tactic


Hint View for [move | apply] / ident [| natural] view hint declarationp. ??
Hint View for apply// ident [|natural] right hand side doublep. ??
  view hint declaration 
Prenex Implicits ident+  prenex implicits decl.p. ??

Unfortunately, even after a call to the Set Printing All command, some occurrences are still not displayed to the user, essentially the ones possibly hidden in the predicate of a dependent match structure.
Thus scripts that depend on bound variable names, e.g., via intros or with, are inherently fragile.
The name subnK reads as “right cancellation rule for nat subtraction”.
Also, a slightly different variant may be used for the first d-item of case and elim; see section 11.5.6.
Except /= does not expand the local definitions created by the SSReflect in tactical.
SSReflect reserves all identifiers of the form “_x_”, which is used for such generated names.
More precisely, it should have a quantified inductive type with a assumptions and ma constructors.
This is an implementation feature: there is not such obstruction in the metatheory
The current state of the proof shall be displayed by the Show Proof command of Coq proof mode.