I have a defun get-quotes with one mandatory and 2 optional arguments. I would like to do something like this:

(let ((articles 
       '("/home/matt/art/mice.pdf" '("/home/matt/art/cats.pdf" "Smith, "Neural Pathways in Cat Brains" 3)))
  (dolist (thisarticle articles)
     (get-quotes (SOMEFUNCTION thisarticle)))

Where SOMEFUNCTION checks thisarticle, and if it's a string, passes it directly as an argument, or if it's a list, makes it available to get-quotes as a set of elements (rather than a list object). My understanding of elisp is pretty vague, so I may be missing some fundamental point. Many thanks for the help!

The possible dupe in @Drew's post is quite helpful, but since the new answer from @abo-abo was a little easier for me to follow, I'm going to accept it rather than the slightly more technical answer in the earlier question. Thanks to everyone though.

marked as duplicate by Drew, tarsius, erikstokes, Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Oct 11 '16 at 16:12

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  • Well, stringp returns true t if an object is a string, nil otherwise. Does that help? – Andrew Swann Nov 10 '15 at 14:19
  • Thanks Andrew, that did help. And drew, now that i have ab0abo's answer, the answers in that link help. – Matt Nov 11 '15 at 1:04

Something like this, the new function to learn is apply:

(defun get-quotes (x &rest y)
  (cons x y))
(let ((articles
          "Smith, \"Neural Pathways in Cat Brains\""
  (dolist (thisarticle articles)
    (if (stringp thisarticle)
        (get-quotes thisarticle)
      (apply 'get-quotes thisarticle))))

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