Two anthracene based receptors ADAMN and ANOPD were synthesized and characterized. The response of both towards F− ion has been monitored by UV–Vis and 1H NMR spectroscopy as well as naked eye color change. Interestingly, change in acceptor unit endows ADAMN to behave as a INHIBIT logic gate with F− and H+ as inputs whereas ANOPD remains totally silent towards F−. The reason for this differential behavior has been explored by DFT calculations. The practical utility of the logic gate response of ADAMN was explored by successful paper strip experiment. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.