When more than one operator appears in an expression, the order of evaluation depends on the rules of precedence. For mathematical operators, Python follows mathematical convention. The acronym PEMDAS is a useful way to remember the rules:
- Parentheses have the highest precedence and can be used to force an expression to evaluate in the order you want. Since expressions in parentheses are evaluated first,
2 * (3-1)is 4, and
(1+1)**(5-2)is 8. You can also use parentheses to make an expression easier to read, as in
(minute * 100) / 60, even if it doesn’t change the result.
- Exponentiation has the next highest precedence, so
2**1+1is 3, not 4, and
3*1**3is 3, not 27.
- Multiplication and Division have the same precedence, which is higher than Addition and Subtraction, which also have the same precedence. So
2*3-1is 5, not 4, and
6+4/2is 8, not 5.
- Operators with the same precedence are evaluated from left to right (except exponentiation). So in the expression
degrees / 2 * pi, the division happens first and the result is multiplied by
pi. To divide by
2π, you can use parentheses or write
degrees / 2 / pi.
I don’t work very hard to remember rules of precedence for other operators. If I can’t tell by looking at the expression, I use parentheses to make it obvious.