Like tuples, enums can also be destructured by matching:

Patterns can also be used to bind variables to parts of your values. This is how you inspect the structure of your types. Let us start with a simple enum type:

enum Result {

fn divide_in_two(n: i32) -> Result {
    if n % 2 == 0 {
        Result::Ok(n / 2)
    } else {
        Result::Err(format!("cannot divide {n} into two equal parts"))

fn main() {
    let n = 100;
    match divide_in_two(n) {
        Result::Ok(half) => println!("{n} divided in two is {half}"),
        Result::Err(msg) => println!("sorry, an error happened: {msg}"),

Here we have used the arms to destructure the Result value. In the first arm, half is bound to the value inside the Ok variant. In the second arm, msg is bound to the error message.

This slide should take about 4 minutes.
  • The if/else expression is returning an enum that is later unpacked with a match.
  • You can try adding a third variant to the enum definition and displaying the errors when running the code. Point out the places where your code is now inexhaustive and how the compiler tries to give you hints.
  • The values in the enum variants can only be accessed after being pattern matched.
  • Demonstrate what happens when the search is inexhaustive. Note the advantage the Rust compiler provides by confirming when all cases are handled.
  • Save the result of divide_in_two in the result variable and match it in a loop. That won’t compile because msg is consumed when matched. To fix it, match &result instead of result. That will make msg a reference so it won’t be consumed. This “match ergonomics” appeared in Rust 2018. If you want to support older Rust, replace msg with ref msg in the pattern.