Is main a valid java identifier

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Category:Languages

One of my kids is taking Java in high school and had this on one of his tests:

Which of the following is a valid identifier in Java?  a.  123java b.  main c.  java1234 d.  {abce e.  )whoot 

He answered b and got it wrong.

I looked at the question and argued that main is a valid identifier and that it should have been right.

We took a look at the java spec for identifiers and it reinforced that point. We also wrote a sample program that had a variable called main, as well as a method. He created a written rebuttal that included the java documentation reference, the test program and the teacher ignored it and says the answer is still incorrect.

Is main a valid identifier?

 


public class J {     public static void main(String[] args)     {         String main = "The character sequence /"main/" is an identifier, not a keyword or reserved word.";         System.out.println(main);     } } 

This compiles, with output:

The character sequence "main" is an identifier, not a keyword or reserved word. 

The character sequence main is an identifier, not a keyword or reserved word.

The relevant section of the JLS is 3.8:

An identifier is an unlimited-length sequence of Java letters and Java digits, the first of which must be a Java letter.

Identifier:

    IdentifierChars but not a Keyword or BooleanLiteral or NullLiteral

IdentifierChars:

    JavaLetter {JavaLetterOrDigit}

JavaLetter:

    any Unicode character that is a "Java letter"

JavaLetterOrDigit:

    any Unicode character that is a "Java letter-or-digit"

The character sequence main fits the above description and is not in the keyword list in Section 3.9.

(The character sequence java1234 is also an identifier, for the same reasons.)

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