Operators enable you to do things such as calculate numbers, join strings together, assign values to a variable, compare one value to another, and more.
In computer programming, an operator is a symbol with a special meaning, which is used to carry out a particular operation.
Operators behave similar to functions, in that they take an input and produce an output, but they differ syntactally to functions. For example, in
1 + 1, the plus sign (
+) is an operator that adds the number on its left with the number on its right.
Python includes operators in the following categories:
- Arithmetic Operators
- Comparison (Relational) Operators
- Logical Operators
- Assignment Operators
- Bitwise Operators
- Ternary (Conditional) Operator
These are explained below. For a more detailed list of Python operators, see Python 3 Operators.
Python includes the following arithmetic operators:
Arithmetic operators take numerical values (either literals or variables) as their operands and return a single numerical value.
For example, the plus-sign (
+) adds the number on its right with the number on its left. Like this:
Here's the result of applying each of the arithmetic operators to the same operands:
520 480 10000 25.0 25 0 112589990684262400000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
Python includes the following comparison operators:
Also known as relational operators, comparison operators allow you to compare two objects. The operation returns a boolean value of either
False. The objects being compared don't need to have the same type.
Here's an example of using the
== operator. This returns
True if both operands are exactly equal, otherwise it returns
Comparison operations in Python have the same priority, which is lower than that of any arithmetic, shifting or bitwise operation.
Python includes the following logical operators:
Logical operators return either
False depending on the value of the operands. They're used when testing for a value. For example the
and logical operator can be used to test that both operands have a certain value:
The assignment operators in Python are:
Assignment operators are used to assign values to variables. The basic assignment operator is the equal-sign (
=), which assigns the value of its right operand/s with its left operand.
The other assignment operators are generally shorthand for various arithmentic operations. For example, the
+= operator can be used to shorten a
a = a + b assignment.
The following assignments are equivalent:
The following bitwise operations can be performed on integers:
For example, to return a bitwise or of 500 and 200:
Ternary (Conditional) Operator
Most programming languages have a ternary operator, which allows you to define a conditional expression. In Python, you can define a conditional expression like this:
Basically, what this means is, the condition (
C) is evaluated first. If it returns
True, the result is
x, otherwise it's
If this seems confusing, don't worry, we cover
if statements next.
Also, check out this list of Python 3 Operators for a more detailed description of the operators available in Python.