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The MATCH or MATCHES function applies pattern matching to an expression. It takes the general form: 

expression1 MATCHES expression2


  • expression1 may evaluate to any type. expression2 should evaluate to a valid pattern matching string as described below.
  • expression1 is then matched to the pattern supplied and a value of Boolean TRUE is returned if the pattern is matched. A value of Boolean FALSE is returned if the pattern is not matched.

expression2 can contain any number of patterns to match those separated by value marks. The value mark implies a logical OR of the specified patterns and the match will evaluate to Boolean TRUE if expression1 matches any of the specified patterns.

The rule table shown below shows construction of pattern matching strings (n refers to any integer number).

this construct matches a sequence of n digits

this construct matches a sequence of n alpha characters

this construct matches a sequence of n alpha characters or digits
this construct matches a sequence of any characters

This construct matches the character sequence string exactly.

Applies the pattern to all characters in expression1 and it must match all characters in the expression to evaluate as Boolean TRUE. Specify the integer value n as 0. This will cause the pattern to match any number of characters of the specified type.


When using the MATCHES statement in International Mode, the statement will use the currently configured locale to determine the properties according to the Unicode Standard for each character in the expression. i.e., is the character alpha or numeric?

Examples of use include:

IF Reply MATCHES "0N" THEN CRT "A match!"

to matches if all characters in Reply are numeric or Reply is a null string.

in the event it is necessary to check if a variable contains any number of numerics followed by the “.” character followed by 2 numeric characters. e.g. 345.65 or 9.99, it may be accomplished by for instance: 

Reply MATCHES "0N'.'2N..." 

To check if a variable consists of a string of 4 arbitrary characters followed by the ":" character then 6 numerics then the ";" character and then 2 alphabetic characters., one may go about it as follows: 

VAR_PATTERN = "4X':'6N';'2A"

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