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Nitpick is a formal specification language designed to be amenable to a new checking method called case enumeration. The paper explains how a compromise was reached in the language's design between expressive power and tractability. Fragments of a larger specification we have written are given to illustrate the language's features. Simplified versions of two operations are explained in detail, along with the results of running the Nitpick checker to detect some flaws. 1 Introduction Nitpick is a language and a checking tool for investigating the intended function of a software system. The language has much in common with Z  ; it is based on sets and relations, and represents operations with logical formulae. But Nitpick's motivation differs markedly from Z's. Completeness has been the yardstick of much work in formal specification, both in description and analysis. Formal specifications, it was once thought, might alleviate the problems of poor contracts by filling in details mis...