in reply to my $x or my ($x)

Another useful use of list context is with regular expression captures. Consider:

my $x = /(\w+)/;


my ($x) = /(\w+)/;

The first example will set $x to 1 if $_ contains any alphanumerics. The second example sets $x to the first word.

The second, list context, example is such a common, natural idiom to me that I never make the mistake of using captures in scalar context. I also almost never need to use $1, $2 etc. explicitly.


Oh Lord, won’t you burn me a Knoppix CD ?
My friends all rate Windows, I must disagree.
Your powers of persuasion will set them all free,
So oh Lord, won’t you burn me a Knoppix CD ?
(Missquoting Janis Joplin)