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# 6: Scales of Measure

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In the last chapter, we learned the Python verbiage for how to do arithmetic operations. In this one, we zoom out and ask: when does it actually make sense to use those operations? The answer turns out to be: not always.

Another way to phrase this distinction is in terms of syntax vs. semantics. Syntax concerns the rules for combining various symbols in a programming (or other) language. Semantics concerns the meaning of those symbols. This isn’t something a programming language can tell us. Only a human who understands what all those symbols refer to can determine when a particular combination actually relates to something meaningful.

6: Scales of Measure is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Stephen Davies (allthemath.org) .

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