2.4.2 The ARG Instruction ARG [ template ] ; The ARG instruction will parse the argument strings at the current procedural level into the template. Parsing will be performed in upper case mode. This clause is equivalent to: PARSE UPPER ARG [ template ] ; For more information, see the PARSE instruction. Note that this is the only situation where a multistring template is relevant. Example: Beware assignments The similarity between ARG and PARSE UPPER ARG has one exception. Suppose the PARSE UPPER ARG has an absolute positional pattern as the first element in the template, like: parse upper arg =(foo) bar This is not equivalent to an ARG instruction, because ARG instruction would become an assignment. A simple trick to avoid this problem is just to prepend a placeholder period (.) to the pattern, thus the equal sign (=) is no longer the second token in the new ARG instruction. Also, unless the absolute positional pattern is indirect, the equal sign can be removed without changing the meaning of the statement.