A ## preprocessing token shall not occur at the beginning or at the end of a replacement list for either form of macro definition.
If, in the replacement list of a function-like macro, a parameter is immediately preceded or followed by a ## preprocessing token, the parameter is replaced by the corresponding argument's preprocessing token sequence; however, if an argument consists of no preprocessing tokens, the parameter is replaced by a placemarker preprocessing token instead.156
For both object-like and function-like macro invocations, before the replacement list is reexamined for more macro names to replace, each instance of a ## preprocessing token in the replacement list (not from an argument) is deleted and the preceding preprocessing token is concatenated with the following preprocessing token. Placemarker preprocessing tokens are handled specially: concatenation of two placemarkers results in a single placemarker preprocessing token, and concatenation of a placemarker with a non-placemarker preprocessing token results in the non-placemarker preprocessing token. If the result is not a valid preprocessing token, the behavior is undefined. The resulting token is available for further macro replacement. The order of evaluation of ## operators is unspecified.
[ Example: In the following fragment:
#define hash_hash # ## # #define mkstr(a) # a #define in_between(a) mkstr(a) #define join(c, d) in_between(c hash_hash d) char p = join(x, y); // equivalent to // char p = "x ## y";
The expansion produces, at various stages:
join(x, y) in_between(x hash_hash y) in_between(x ## y) mkstr(x ## y) "x ## y"
In other words, expanding hash_hash produces a new token, consisting of two adjacent sharp signs, but this new token is not the ## operator. — end example ]
Placemarker preprocessing tokens do not appear in the syntax because they are temporary entities that exist only within translation phase 4.