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15.7: Order of Operations

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    16880
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    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+1 is 3, not 4, and 3*1**3 is 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*3-1 is 5, not 4, and 6+4/2 is 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 , 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.


    This page titled 15.7: Order of Operations is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Allen B. Downey (Green Tea Press) .

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