Python Operators

In this article, we'll learn everything about different types of operators in Python, their syntax and how to use them with examples.

Video: Operators in Python

Operators are special symbols that perform operations on variables and values. For example,

print(5 + 6)   # 11

Here, + is an operator that adds two numbers: 5 and 6.


Types of Python Operators

Here's a list of different types of Python operators that we will learn in this tutorial.

  1. Arithmetic operators
  2. Assignment Operators
  3. Comparison Operators
  4. Logical Operators
  5. Bitwise Operators
  6. Special Operators

1. Python Arithmetic Operators

Arithmetic operators are used to perform mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc. For example,

sub = 10 - 5 # 5

Here, - is an arithmetic operator that subtracts two values or variables.

Operator Operation Example
+ Addition 5 + 2 = 7
- Subtraction 4 - 2 = 2
* Multiplication 2 * 3 = 6
/ Division 4 / 2 = 2
% Modulo 5 % 2 = 1
** Power 4 ** 2 = 16

Example 1: Arithmetic Operators in Python

a = 7
b = 2

# addition
print ('Sum: ', a + b)  

# subtraction
print ('Subtraction: ', a - b)   

# multiplication
print ('Multiplication: ', a * b)  

# division
print ('Division: ', a / b) 

# modulo
print ('Modulo: ', a % b)  

# a to the power b
print ('Power: ', a ** b)   

Output

Sum: 9
Subtraction: 5
Multiplication: 14
Division: 3.5
Modulo: 1
Power: 49

In the above example, we have used multiple arithmetic operators,

  • + to add a and b
  • - to subtract b from a
  • * to multiply a and b
  • / to divide a by b
  • % to get the remainder
  • ** to get a to the power b

2. Python Assignment Operators

Assignment operators are used to assign values to variables. For example,

# assign 5 to x 
var x = 5

Here, = is an assignment operator that assigns 5 to x.

Here's a list of different assignment operators available in Python.

Operator Name Example
= Assignment Operator a = 7
+= Addition Assignment a += 1 # a = a + 1
-= Subtraction Assignment a -= 3 # a = a - 3
*= Multiplication Assignment a *= 4 # a = a * 4
/= Division Assignment a /= 3 # a = a / 3
%= Remainder Assignment a %= 10 # a = a % 10
**= Exponent Assignment a **= 10 # a = a ** 10

Example 2: Assignment Operators

# assign 10 to a
a = 10

# assign 5 to b
b = 5 

# assign the sum of a and b to a
a += b      # a = a + b

print(a)

# Output: 15

Here, we have used the += operator to assign the sum of a and b to a.

Similarly, we can use any other assignment operators according to the need.


3. Python Comparison Operators

Comparison operators compare two values/variables and return a boolean result: True or False. For example,

a = 5
b =2

print (a > b)    # True

Here, the > comparison operator is used to compare whether a is greater than b or not.

Operator Meaning Example
== Is Equal To 3 == 5 gives us False
!= Not Equal To 3 != 5 gives us True
> Greater Than 3 > 5 gives us False
< Less Than 3 < 5 gives us True
>= Greater Than or Equal To 3 >= 5 give us False
<= Less Than or Equal To 3 <= 5 gives us True

Example 3: Comparison Operators

a = 5

b = 2

# equal to operator
print('a == b =', a == b)

# not equal to operator
print('a != b =', a != b)

# greater than operator
print('a > b =', a > b)

# less than operator
print('a < b =', a < b)

# greater than or equal to operator
print('a >= b =', a >= b)

# less than or equal to operator
print('a <= b =', a <= b)

Output

a == b = False
a != b = True
a > b = True
a < b = False
a >= b = True
a <= b = False

Note: Comparison operators are used in decision-making and loops. We'll discuss more of the comparison operator and decision-making in later tutorials.


4. Python Logical Operators

Logical operators are used to check whether an expression is True or False. They are used in decision-making. For example,

a = 5
b = 6

print((a > 2) and (b >= 6))    # True

Here, and is the logical operator AND. Since both a > 2 and b >= 6 are True, the result is True.

Operator Example Meaning
and a and b Logical AND:
True only if both the operands are True
or a or b Logical OR:
True if at least one of the operands is True
not not a Logical NOT:
True if the operand is False and vice-versa.

Example 4: Logical Operators

# logical AND
print(True and True)     # True
print(True and False)    # False

# logical OR
print(True or False)     # True

# logical NOT
print(not True)          # False

Note: Here is the truth table for these logical operators.


5. Python Bitwise operators

Bitwise operators act on operands as if they were strings of binary digits. They operate bit by bit, hence the name.

For example, 2 is 10 in binary and 7 is 111.

In the table below: Let x = 10 (0000 1010 in binary) and y = 4 (0000 0100 in binary)

Operator Meaning Example
& Bitwise AND x & y = 0 (0000 0000)
| Bitwise OR x | y = 14 (0000 1110)
~ Bitwise NOT ~x = -11 (1111 0101)
^ Bitwise XOR x ^ y = 14 (0000 1110)
>> Bitwise right shift x >> 2 = 2 (0000 0010)
<< Bitwise left shift x << 2 = 40 (0010 1000)

6. Python Special operators

Python language offers some special types of operators like the identity operator and the membership operator. They are described below with examples.

Identity operators

In Python, is and is not are used to check if two values are located on the same part of the memory. Two variables that are equal does not imply that they are identical.

Operator Meaning Example
is True if the operands are identical (refer to the same object) x is True
is not True if the operands are not identical (do not refer to the same object) x is not True

Example 4: Identity operators in Python

x1 = 5
y1 = 5
x2 = 'Hello'
y2 = 'Hello'
x3 = [1,2,3]
y3 = [1,2,3]

print(x1 is not y1)  # prints False

print(x2 is y2)  # prints True

print(x3 is y3)  # prints False

Here, we see that x1 and y1 are integers of the same values, so they are equal as well as identical. Same is the case with x2 and y2 (strings).

But x3 and y3 are lists. They are equal but not identical. It is because the interpreter locates them separately in memory although they are equal.


Membership operators

In Python, in and not in are the membership operators. They are used to test whether a value or variable is found in a sequence (string, list, tuple, set and dictionary).

In a dictionary we can only test for presence of key, not the value.

Operator Meaning Example
in True if value/variable is found in the sequence 5 in x
not in True if value/variable is not found in the sequence 5 not in x

Example 5: Membership operators in Python

message = 'Hello world'
dict1 = {1:'a', 2:'b'}

# check if 'H' is present in message string
print('H' in message)  # prints True

# check if 'hello' is present in message string
print('hello' not in message)  # prints True

# check if '1' key is present in dict1
print(1 in dict1)  # prints True

# check if 'a' key is present in dict1
print('a' in dict1)  # prints False

Output

True
True
True
False

Here, 'H' is in x but 'hello' is not present in x (remember, Python is case sensitive).

Similarly, 1 is key and 'a' is the value in dictionary y. Hence, 'a' in y returns False.

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