Detect signed int overflow in Go

I’m building a Lisp, and I want 32 bit integers to automatically switch to 64 bit integers if a computation would cause them to otherwise overflow. And likewise, for 64 bit overflows, switch to arbitrarily sized integers.

The problem I have is that I don’t know what the “correct” way is to detect an integer overflow.

a, b := 2147483647, 2147483647
c := a + b

How can I efficiently check if c overflowed?

I have considered always converting to 64 bit values to do the calculation, then down-sizing again afterwards when possible, but that seems expensive and memory wasteful for something that is as primitive and core to the language as basic arithmetic.

For example, to detect 32-bit integer overflow for addition,

package main

import (

var ErrOverflow = errors.New("integer overflow")

func Add32(left, right int32) (int32, error) {
    if right > 0 {
        if left > math.MaxInt32-right {
            return 0, ErrOverflow
    } else {
        if left < math.MinInt32-right {
            return 0, ErrOverflow
    return left + right, nil
func main() {
    var a, b int32 = 2147483327, 2147483327
    c, err := Add32(a, b)
    if err != nil {
        // handle overflow
        fmt.Println(err, a, b, c)


integer overflow 2147483327 2147483327 0