In

_{1},…,''t''_{''n''}), where ''f'' is an ''n''-ary function symbol, and ''t''_{1},…,''t''_{''n''} are terms, is again a term.
The next step is to define the atomic formulas.
#If ''t''_{1} and ''t''_{2} are terms then ''t''_{1}=''t''_{2} is an atomic formula
#If ''R'' is an ''n''-ary predicate symbol, and ''t''_{1},…,''t''_{''n''} are terms, then ''R''(''t''_{1},…,''t''_{''n''}) is an atomic formula
Finally, the set of formulas is defined to be the smallest set containing the set of atomic formulas such that the following holds:
#$\backslash neg\backslash phi$ is a formula when $\backslash phi$ is a formula
#$(\backslash phi\; \backslash land\; \backslash psi)$ and $(\backslash phi\; \backslash lor\; \backslash psi)$ are formulas when $\backslash phi$ and $\backslash psi$ are formulas;
#$\backslash exists\; x\backslash ,\; \backslash phi$ is a formula when $x$ is a variable and $\backslash phi$ is a formula;
#$\backslash forall\; x\backslash ,\; \backslash phi$ is a formula when $x$ is a variable and $\backslash phi$ is a formula (alternatively, $\backslash forall\; x\backslash ,\; \backslash phi$ could be defined as an abbreviation for $\backslash neg\backslash exists\; x\backslash ,\; \backslash neg\backslash phi$).
If a formula has no occurrences of $\backslash exists\; x$ or $\backslash forall\; x$, for any variable $x$, then it is called quantifier-free. An ''existential formula'' is a formula starting with a sequence of existential quantification followed by a quantifier-free formula.

Well-Formed Formula for First Order Predicate Logic

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{{DEFAULTSORT:Well-Formed Formula Formal languages Metalogic Syntax (logic) Mathematical logic

mathematical logic
Mathematical logic is the study of logic, formal logic within mathematics. Major subareas include model theory, proof theory, set theory, and recursion theory. Research in mathematical logic commonly addresses the mathematical properties of for ...

, propositional logic and predicate logic, a well-formed formula, abbreviated WFF or wff, often simply formula, is a finite sequence of symbols from a given alphabet that is part of a formal language
In logic, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics, a formal language consists of words whose letters are taken from an alphabet and are well-formed according to a specific set of rules.
The alphabet of a formal language consists o ...

. A formal language can be identified with the set of formulas in the language.
A formula is a syntactic object that can be given a semantic meaning
Meaning most commonly refers to:
* Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language
* Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy
* Meaning (non-linguistic), a general ...

by means of an interpretation
Interpretation may refer to:
Culture
* Aesthetic interpretation, an explanation of the meaning of a work of art
* Allegorical interpretation, an approach that assumes a text should not be interpreted literally
* Dramatic Interpretation, an even ...

. Two key uses of formulas are in propositional logic and predicate logic.
Introduction

A key use of formulas is in propositional logic and predicate logic such asfirst-order logic
First-order logic—also known as predicate logic, quantificational logic, and first-order predicate calculus—is a collection of formal systems used in mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. First-order logic uses quantifie ...

. In those contexts, a formula is a string of symbols φ for which it makes sense to ask "is φ true?", once any free variable
In mathematics, and in other disciplines involving formal languages, including mathematical logic and computer science, a free variable is a notation (symbol) that specifies places in an expression where substitution may take place and is not ...

s in φ have been instantiated. In formal logic, proofs can be represented by sequences of formulas with certain properties, and the final formula in the sequence is what is proven.
Although the term "formula" may be used for written marks (for instance, on a piece of paper or chalkboard), it is more precisely understood as the sequence of symbols being expressed, with the marks being a token instance of formula. This distinction between the vague notion of "property" and the inductively-defined notion of well-formed formula has roots in Weyl's 1910 paper "Uber die Definitionen der mathematischen Grundbegriffe". Thus the same formula may be written more than once, and a formula might in principle be so long that it cannot be written at all within the physical universe.
Formulas themselves are syntactic objects. They are given meanings by interpretations. For example, in a propositional formula, each propositional variable may be interpreted as a concrete proposition, so that the overall formula expresses a relationship between these propositions. A formula need not be interpreted, however, to be considered solely as a formula.
Propositional calculus

The formulas of propositional calculus, also called propositional formulas, are expressions such as $(A\; \backslash land\; (B\; \backslash lor\; C))$. Their definition begins with the arbitrary choice of a set ''V'' ofpropositional variable
In mathematical logic, a propositional variable (also called a sentential variable or sentential letter) is an input variable (that can either be true or false) of a truth function. Propositional variables are the basic building-blocks of proposit ...

s. The alphabet consists of the letters in ''V'' along with the symbols for the propositional connectives and parentheses "(" and ")", all of which are assumed to not be in ''V''. The formulas will be certain expressions (that is, strings of symbols) over this alphabet.
The formulas are inductively defined as follows:
* Each propositional variable is, on its own, a formula.
* If φ is a formula, then ¬φ is a formula.
* If φ and ψ are formulas, and • is any binary connective, then ( φ • ψ) is a formula. Here • could be (but is not limited to) the usual operators ∨, ∧, →, or ↔.
This definition can also be written as a formal grammar in Backus–Naur form, provided the set of variables is finite:
Using this grammar, the sequence of symbols
:(((''p'' → ''q'') ∧ (''r'' → ''s'')) ∨ (¬''q'' ∧ ¬''s''))
is a formula, because it is grammatically correct. The sequence of symbols
:((''p'' → ''q'')→(''qq''))''p''))
is not a formula, because it does not conform to the grammar.
A complex formula may be difficult to read, owing to, for example, the proliferation of parentheses. To alleviate this last phenomenon, precedence rules (akin to the standard mathematical order of operations) are assumed among the operators, making some operators more binding than others. For example, assuming the precedence (from most binding to least binding) 1. ¬ 2. → 3. ∧ 4. ∨. Then the formula
:(((''p'' → ''q'') ∧ (''r'' → ''s'')) ∨ (¬''q'' ∧ ¬''s''))
may be abbreviated as
:''p'' → ''q'' ∧ ''r'' → ''s'' ∨ ¬''q'' ∧ ¬''s''
This is, however, only a convention used to simplify the written representation of a formula. If the precedence was assumed, for example, to be left-right associative, in following order: 1. ¬ 2. ∧ 3. ∨ 4. →, then the same formula above (without parentheses) would be rewritten as
:(''p'' → (''q'' ∧ ''r'')) → (''s'' ∨ ((¬''q'') ∧ (¬''s'')))
Predicate logic

The definition of a formula infirst-order logic
First-order logic—also known as predicate logic, quantificational logic, and first-order predicate calculus—is a collection of formal systems used in mathematics, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science. First-order logic uses quantifie ...

$\backslash mathcal$ is relative to the signature of the theory at hand. This signature specifies the constant symbols, predicate symbols, and function symbols of the theory at hand, along with the arities of the function and predicate symbols.
The definition of a formula comes in several parts. First, the set of terms is defined recursively. Terms, informally, are expressions that represent objects from the domain of discourse.
#Any variable is a term.
#Any constant symbol from the signature is a term
#an expression of the form ''f''(''t''Atomic and open formulas

An ''atomic formula'' is a formula that contains nological connective
In logic, a logical connective (also called a logical operator, sentential connective, or sentential operator) is a logical constant. They can be used to connect logical formulas. For instance in the syntax of propositional logic, the binary co ...

s nor quantifiers, or equivalently a formula that has no strict subformulas.
The precise form of atomic formulas depends on the formal system under consideration; for propositional logic, for example, the atomic formulas are the propositional variable
In mathematical logic, a propositional variable (also called a sentential variable or sentential letter) is an input variable (that can either be true or false) of a truth function. Propositional variables are the basic building-blocks of proposit ...

s. For predicate logic, the atoms are predicate symbols together with their arguments, each argument being a term.
According to some terminology, an ''open formula'' is formed by combining atomic formulas using only logical connectives, to the exclusion of quantifiers. This is not to be confused with a formula which is not closed.
Closed formulas

A ''closed formula'', also ''ground
Ground may refer to:
Geology
* Land, the surface of the Earth not covered by water
* Soil, a mixture of clay, sand and organic matter present on the surface of the Earth
Electricity
* Ground (electricity), the reference point in an electrical c ...

formula'' or ''sentence'', is a formula in which there are no free occurrences of any variable. If A is a formula of a first-order language in which the variables have free occurrences, then A preceded by is a closure of A.
Properties applicable to formulas

* A formula A in a language $\backslash mathcal$ is '' valid'' if it is true for everyinterpretation
Interpretation may refer to:
Culture
* Aesthetic interpretation, an explanation of the meaning of a work of art
* Allegorical interpretation, an approach that assumes a text should not be interpreted literally
* Dramatic Interpretation, an even ...

of $\backslash mathcal$.
* A formula A in a language $\backslash mathcal$ is ''satisfiable
In mathematical logic, a formula is ''satisfiable'' if it is true under some assignment of values to its variables. For example, the formula x+3=y is satisfiable because it is true when x=3 and y=6, while the formula x+1=x is not satisfiable over ...

'' if it is true for some interpretation
Interpretation may refer to:
Culture
* Aesthetic interpretation, an explanation of the meaning of a work of art
* Allegorical interpretation, an approach that assumes a text should not be interpreted literally
* Dramatic Interpretation, an even ...

of $\backslash mathcal$.
* A formula A of the language of arithmetic
Arithmetic () is an elementary part of mathematics that consists of the study of the properties of the traditional operations on numbers—addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponentiation, and extraction of roots. In the 19th cent ...

is ''decidable'' if it represents a decidable set, i.e. if there is an effective method
In logic, mathematics and computer science, especially metalogic and computability theory, an effective method Hunter, Geoffrey, ''Metalogic: An Introduction to the Metatheory of Standard First-Order Logic'', University of California Press, 1971 or ...

which, given a substitution
Substitution may refer to:
Arts and media
* Chord substitution, in music, swapping one chord for a related one within a chord progression
* Substitution (poetry), a variation in poetic scansion
* "Substitution" (song), a 2009 song by Silversun P ...

of the free variables of A, says that either the resulting instance of A is provable or its negation is.
Usage of the terminology

In earlier works on mathematical logic (e.g. byChurch
Church may refer to:
Religion
* Church (building), a building for Christian religious activities
* Church (congregation), a local congregation of a Christian denomination
* Church service, a formalized period of Christian communal worship
* Chr ...

), formulas referred to any strings of symbols and among these strings, well-formed formulas were the strings that followed the formation rules of (correct) formulas.
Several authors simply say formula. Modern usages (especially in the context of computer science with mathematical software such as model checkers, automated theorem provers, interactive theorem provers) tend to retain of the notion of formula only the algebraic concept and to leave the question of well-formedness
__NOTOC__
Well-formedness is the quality of a clause, word, or other linguistic element that conforms to the grammar of the language of which it is a part. Well-formed words or phrases are grammatical, meaning they obey all relevant rules of gramm ...

, i.e. of the concrete string representation of formulas (using this or that symbol for connectives and quantifiers, using this or that parenthesizing convention, using Polish or infix notation, etc.) as a mere notational problem.
While the expression ''well-formed formula'' is still in use, these authors do not necessarily use it in contradistinction to the old sense of ''formula'', which is no longer common in mathematical logic.
The expression "well-formed formulas" (WFF) also crept into popular culture. ''WFF'' is part of an esoteric pun used in the name of the academic game " WFF 'N PROOF: The Game of Modern Logic," by Layman Allen, developed while he was at Yale Law School (he was later a professor at the University of Michigan
, mottoeng = "Arts, Knowledge, Truth"
, former_names = Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania (1817–1821)
, budget = $10.3 billion (2021)
, endowment = $17 billion (2021)As o ...

). The suite of games is designed to teach the principles of symbolic logic to children (in Polish notation
Polish notation (PN), also known as normal Polish notation (NPN), Łukasiewicz notation, Warsaw notation, Polish prefix notation or simply prefix notation, is a mathematical notation in which operators ''precede'' their operands, in contrast t ...

). Its name is an echo of '' whiffenpoof'', a nonsense word
A nonsense word, unlike a sememe, may have no definition. Nonsense words can be classified depending on their orthographic and phonetic similarity with (meaningful) words. If it can be pronounced according to a language's phonotactics, it is a p ...

used as a cheer
Cheering involves the uttering or making of sounds and may be used to encourage, excite to action, indicate approval or welcome.
The word cheer originally meant face, countenance, or expression, and came through Old French into Middle English ...

at Yale University made popular in ''The Whiffenpoof Song'' and The Whiffenpoofs.Allen (1965) acknowledges the pun.
See also

*Ground expression
In mathematical logic, a ground term of a formal system is a term that does not contain any variables. Similarly, a ground formula is a formula that does not contain any variables.
In first-order logic with identity, the sentence Q(a) \lor ...

* Well-defined expression
Notes

References

* * * * * * * * *External links

Well-Formed Formula for First Order Predicate Logic

- includes a short

Java
Java (; id, Jawa, ; jv, ꦗꦮ; su, ) is one of the Greater Sunda Islands in Indonesia. It is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the south and the Java Sea to the north. With a population of 151.6 million people, Java is the world's mo ...

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