The context of a Perl subroutine or statement is defined as the type of return value that is expected. This allows you to use a single function that returns different values based on what the user is expecting to receive. For example, the following localtime() returns a string when it is called in scalar context, but it returns a list when it is called in list context.
my $datestring = localtime( time );
In this example, the value of $timestr is now a string made up of the current date and time, for example, Thu Nov 30 15:21:33 2000. Conversely −
($sec,$min,$hour,$mday,$mon, $year,$wday,$yday,$isdst) = localtime(time);
Now the individual variables contain the corresponding values returned by localtime() subroutine.