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## Understanding Operator Precedence in Python

In every programming language, including Python, operations don’t just happen haphazardly. There’s a specific order to how calculations and evaluations occur, governed by a concept called “operator precedence”. This article illuminates the rules of operator precedence in Python, ensuring your expressions always evaluate as intended.

## Understanding Operator Precedence in Python

Operator precedence, often likened to the arithmetic “order of operations” from math classes, defines the sequence in which operations are performed in a complex expression.

Example:

```result = 3 + 4 * 2

```

In the above code, multiplication has a higher precedence than addition, so `4 * 2` is evaluated first, followed by the addition, making `result` 11, not 14.

## Python Operator Hierarchy

To avoid confusion, it’s crucial to know the hierarchy of operations in Python. Here’s a simplified order:

1. Parentheses `()`
2. Exponentiation `**`
3. Unary minus `-`
4. Multiplication `*`, Division `/`, and Modulus `%`
5. Addition `+` and Subtraction `-`

It’s worth noting that operators with the same precedence level are evaluated from left to right.

Example:

```result = 15 - 3 + 2

```

Here, subtraction and addition have the same precedence. Thus, the expression is evaluated left-to-right, and `result` will be 14.

## Order of Operations in Python: Advanced Operators

Beyond basic arithmetic, Python supports a plethora of operators like bitwise, logical, and comparison operators. Each has its position in the precedence hierarchy.

For instance, logical operators (`and`, `or`, `not`) have lower precedence than comparison operators (`<`, `>`, `==`, `!=`).

Example:

```outcome = 5 < 8 and 7 > 10

```

In this example, both comparison operations are evaluated before the `and` operation.

## Tips for Navigating Python Arithmetic Priority

1. Use Parentheses Liberally: If unsure about precedence, use parentheses to group operations. It makes code clearer.
2. Consult the Python Documentation: The official Python docs provide a detailed table of operator precedence.
3. Practice: The more you code, the more intuitive these rules become.

### Conclusion

Understanding operator precedence in Python is crucial for writing effective, error-free code. By familiarizing yourself with the rules and hierarchies of operations, you can ensure that your Python programs run as expected.

#### Anand Das

Anand is Co-founder and CTO of Bito. He leads technical strategy and engineering, and is our biggest user! Formerly, Anand was CTO of Eyeota, a data company acquired by Dun & Bradstreet. He is co-founder of PubMatic, where he led the building of an ad exchange system that handles over 1 Trillion bids per day.

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