While many syntax transformers are succinctly expressed using the high-level syntax-rules form, others are difficult or impossible to write, including some that introduce visible bindings for or references to identifiers that do not appear explicitly in the input form, ones that maintain state or read from the file system, and ones that construct new identifiers. The syntax-case system [10] allows the programmer to write transformers that perform these sorts of transformations, and arbitrary additional transformations, without sacrificing the default enforcement of hygiene or the high-level pattern-based syntax matching and template-based output construction provided by syntax-rules (report section on “Macro transformers”).

Because syntax-case does not require literals, including quoted lists or vectors, to be copied or even traversed, it may be able to preserve sharing and cycles within and among the constants of a program. It also allows source-object correlation, i.e., the maintenance of ties between the original source code and expanded output, allowing implementations to provide source-level support for debuggers and other tools.