# Guides/Language FAQ/Sentence Train

## Why Does "+/ *: a work", but when I say "foo =: +/ *:", then "foo a" it doesn't work?

You have

```   +/ *: 1 2 3
14
```

but when you make a verb to do the operation, you get

```   foo =: +/ *:
foo 1 2 3
2 5 10
3 6 11
4 7 12
```

What happened?

The complete story is a bit intricate, but you can get along quite well to begin with by imagining that the name of a verb is replaced by its value enclosed in parentheses. This is similar to mathematics, where if you want to substitute ${\displaystyle y=x+2}$ into ${\displaystyle 3y}$ you have to write ${\displaystyle 3(x+2)}$ rather than ${\displaystyle 3x+2}$ .

So, when you used your foo, it was as if you had written (+/ *) 1 2 3 which would give you:

```   (+/ *:) 1 2 3
2 5 10
3 6 11
4 7 12
```

We needn't concern ourselves with what (+/ *:) does (it's called a hook); all we need to know now is that it's not the same as +/ *: without the parentheses.

Correct ways to write foo are:

```   foo =: 3 : '+/ *: y'
foo =: 13 : '+/ *: y'
foo =: verb : '+/ *: y'
foo =: +/@:*:
foo =: [: +/ *:
```

It should be noted that the notion that a verb is replaced by its parenthesized value is fundamentally incorrect. That is just a way of thinking about the execution of a sentence that gets the correct result in normal cases. The actual processing is different, as described in the references.