in reply to Storing Substitution Output String

s///; returns the string sent to it if no substitutions actually happened.

You might try something like this:

#!usr/bin/perl -w use strict; my $page2 = ''; while( <DATA> ){ if( s!<title>(.*)</title>!<li>A$1C</li>!gi ){ $page2 .= $_; } } print $page2; __DATA__ <title>first story</title> This story is short. <title>second story</title> This story is longer. But not much longer.
I used a ! instead of the / as the delimiters, so I could leave the literal slashes alone in the regex.