# Boosting liftA2

While reading *The Gentle Introduction to Monad Transformers* I came across an interesting use of **liftA2**. To refresh our memories, **liftA2** is defined as:

`liftA2 :: Applicative f => (a -> b -> c) -> f a -> f b -> f c`

It basically lifts a binary function, let’s call it **g**, across two Applicative Functors (**f a** and **f b**) that each have one of the parameters **g** requires (**a** and **b** respectively). It then produces the result of applying **g**(*a* *b*) in a third Applicative Functor (**f c**).

So a simple example would be something like:

`liftA2 (+) (Just 5) (Just 6) = Just 11`

All very easy so far.

What does liftA2 (<*>) do?

Before we answer that question, let’s explore the <*> operator.

The starship operator (as I like to call it) from Applicative is defined like this:

`<*> :: Applicative f => f (a -> b) -> f a -> f b`

The starship operator takes a unary function, let’s call it **h**, that’s within a Applicative Functor (**f (** *a -> b* **)**) and applies it to a value (**a**) also in an Applicative Functor (**f a**). It then returns the result of function application (**h** *a*) in another Applicative Functor (**f b**).

A simple example of its use would be something like:

`(Just (+5)) <*> (Just 6) = Just 11`

Again very simple.

So **liftA2** *lifts* a binary function into two Applicative Functors to get its result. The **starship** operator applies a function that requires one value within an Applicative Functor into another Applicative context that has the value it needs.

So back to our question: What does liftA2 (<*>) do?

We can see from the above that **liftA2** works on Applicative Functors and the **starship** operator also works on Applicative Functors. It might be useful when we have nested Applicative Functors.

Wait … what?

Continuing with our example, say we had this:

```
let v1 = IO (Just (+5))
let v2 = IO (Just 6)
```

How could we apply the nested +5 function to the nested 6 value to retrieve our result of 11?

With the power of **listA2** boosted with **starship** power we could do:

`liftA2 (<*>) v1 v2 = IO (Just 11)`

That seemed really easy. :)

And now for a **boxes and circles** diagram:

Using liftA2 (<*>) we can simply apply functions within nested Applicatives to values also within nested Applicatives.