.Net, C#, VB.NET

Keywords as variables/identifiers. Why?

I use words variable and identifier interchangeably.

Have you ever tried to use a keyword as a name of your variable?  Until recently I thought it was impossible.  However, C# and VB.NET allow developers to use keywords as variables.

string string = '' '';
Dim String As String = '' ''

If you try to compile this code, compiler will generate three errors:

  • Error    1    Identifier expected; ‘string’ is a keyword
  • Error    2    Identifier expected
  • Error    3    Invalid expression term ‘string’ 

To fix this error in C# you just prefix your variable with an @ character.  In VB.NET you surround the variable with square brackets [].  A variable or identifier with an @ prefix is called a verbatim identifier.

string @string = '' '';
Dim [String] As String = '' ''

Why anybody would use keywords as variables?  To me it looks like a very BAD practice.  Variables/identifiers must be descriptive.  Can you think of any keyword that would be descriptive enough to use in your code as a variable?

I found in C# specification why Microsoft includes verbatim identifier in their languages:

The prefix "@" enables the use of keywords as identifiers, which is useful when interfacing with other programming languages. The character @ is not actually part of the identifier, so the identifier might be seen in other languages as a normal identifier, without the prefix.

I still believe it’s a BAD idea.

I also understand that if today I don’t see any reason to use verbatim identifiers, tomorrow I might find a perfect application for it.

If you use it and have a good reason, please let me know.

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