# Type operators

In standard Haskell, operator symbols may only be used at the value level.The only exception to this is the function arrow, `(->)`

, which is a built-in type operator. GHC expands the role of operators with the `TypeOperators`

extension, which makes it possible to use an operator as the name of a type.

The `TypeOperators`

extension has been available since GHC 6.8.1 and implies the `ExplicitNamespaces`

extension. GHC User Manual documentation for `TypeOperators`

.

## Defining type operators

By default, if you try to define a type whose name isn’t composed of letters, compilation fails and GHC suggests that you enable the `TypeOperators`

extension. This happens regardless of whether you place the name in infix or prefix position.

An example of failing with infix notation:

```
λ> data a & b = Tuple a b
error:
Illegal declaration of a type or class operator ‘&’
Use TypeOperators to declare operators in type and declarations
```

An example of failing with prefix notation:

```
λ> data (&) a b = Tuple a b
error:
Illegal declaration of a type or class operator ‘&’
Use TypeOperators to declare operators in type and declarations
```

With the extension enabled, either of these declarations is permitted.

## Using type operators

You can *use* a type operator, in prefix notation, without any extensions enabled.

However, you cannot use it in infix notation.

```
λ> x = Tuple 2 'c' :: Int & Char
error:
Illegal operator ‘&’ in type ‘Int & Char’
Use TypeOperators to allow operators in types
```

Using a type operator in infix notation requires enabling the `TypeOperators`

extension.

## Example: Generics

GHC generics `GHC.Generics`

defines types named `(:+:)`

and `(:*:)`

.