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3.4.7 Data Types of Values in Actions

If you have chosen a single data type for semantic values, the $$ and $n constructs always have that data type.

If you have used %union to specify a variety of data types, then you must declare a choice among these types for each terminal or nonterminal symbol that can have a semantic value. Then each time you use $$ or $n, its data type is determined by which symbol it refers to in the rule. In this example,

     exp:
       ...
     | exp '+' exp    { $$ = $1 + $3; }

$1 and $3 refer to instances of exp, so they all have the data type declared for the nonterminal symbol exp. If $2 were used, it would have the data type declared for the terminal symbol '+', whatever that might be.

Alternatively, you can specify the data type when you refer to the value, by inserting ‘<type>’ after the ‘$’ at the beginning of the reference. For example, if you have defined types as shown here:

     %union {
       int itype;
       double dtype;
     }

then you can write $<itype>1 to refer to the first subunit of the rule as an integer, or $<dtype>1 to refer to it as a double.