In programming languages expression is a unit of code which returns a value, in Move, almost everything is an expression, - with the sole exception of let statement which is a declaration. In this section, we cover the types of expressions and introduce the concept of scope.

Expressions are sequenced with semicolons ;. If there's "no expression" after the semicolon, the compiler will insert a unit () - an empty expression.


In the Primitive Types section, we introduced the basic types of Move. And to illustrate them, we used literals. A literal is a notation for representing a fixed value in the source code. Literals are used to initialize variables and to pass arguments to functions. Move has the following literals:

  • true and false for boolean values
  • 0, 1, 123123 or other numeric for integer values
  • 0x0, 0x1, 0x123 or other hexadecimal for integer values
  • b"bytes_vector" for byte vector values
  • x"0A" HEX literal for byte values
let b = true;     // true is a literal
let n = 1000;     // 1000 is a literal
let h = 0x0A;     // 0x0A is a literal
let v = b"hello"; // b'hello' is a byte vector literal
let x = x"0A";    // x'0A' is a byte vector literal
let c = vector[1, 2, 3]; // vector[] is a vector literal


Arithmetic, logical, and bitwise operators are used to perform operations on values. The result of an operation is a value, so operators are also expressions.

let sum = 1 + 2;   // 1 + 2 is an expression
let sum = (1 + 2); // the same expression with parentheses
let is_true = true && false; // true && false is an expression
let is_true = (true && false); // the same expression with parentheses


A block is a sequence of statements and expressions, and it returns the value of the last expression in the block. A block is written as a pair of curly braces {}. A block is an expression, so it can be used anywhere an expression is expected.

// block with an empty expression, however, the compiler will
// insert an empty expression automatically: `let none = { () }`
// let none = {};

// block with let statements and an expression.
let sum = {
    let a = 1;
    let b = 2;
    a + b // last expression is the value of the block

// block is an expression, so it can be used in an expression and
// doesn't have to be assigned to a variable.
    let a = 1;
    let b = 2;
    a + b; // not returned - semicolon.
    // compiler automatically inserts an empty expression `()`

Function Calls

We go into detail about functions in the Functions section. However, we already used function calls in the previous sections, so it's worth mentioning them here. A function call is an expression that calls a function and returns the value of the last expression in the function body.

fun add(a: u8, b: u8): u8 {
    a + b

fun some_other() {
    let sum = add(1, 2); // add(1, 2) is an expression with type u8

Control Flow Expressions

Control flow expressions are used to control the flow of the program. They are also expressions, so they return a value. We cover control flow expressions in the Control Flow section. Here's a very brief overview:

// if is an expression, so it returns a value; if there are 2 branches,
// the types of the branches must match.
if (bool_expr) expr1 else expr2;

// while is an expression, but it returns `()`.
while (bool_expr) { expr; };

// loop is an expression, but returns `()` as well.
loop { expr; break };