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Python: Operators

An operation character, such as +, is called an operator. Operators perform operations on certain values, which are called operands. The operators themselves are usually one or more characters. On occasion it can also be a word. Most of the operators are identical to those you'll have seen in math class.

print(8 + 2)

In this example + — s the operator, and the numbers 8 and 2 — are operands.

When we add up, we have two operands: one to the left of the + sign, and one to the right. Operations that require two operands are called binary. operations. If at least one operand is omitted, e.g., 3 +, the program will end with a syntax error.

Operations can be more than just binary, they can also be unary (one operand), and ternary (three operands). Moreover, operators may look the same but denote different operations. The symbols + and - are not only used as operators. When it comes to negative numbers, the minus sign becomes part of the number:

print(-3)  # => -3

Above is an example of applying a unary operation to the number 3. The minus operator before the three tells the interpreter to take the number 3 and find the opposite, i.e., -3. This can be confusing because -3 is both a number in itself and an operator with an operand. But this is the structure programming languages have.


Write a program that calculates the difference between the numbers 6 and -81 and displays the answer on the screen.

The exercise doesn't pass checking. What to do? 😶

If you've reached a deadlock it's time to ask your question in the «Discussions». How ask a question correctly:

  • Be sure to attach the test output, without it it's almost impossible to figure out what went wrong, even if you show your code. It's complicated for developers to execute code in their heads, but having a mistake before their eyes most probably will be helpful.
In my environment the code works, but not here 🤨

Tests are designed so that they test the solution in different ways and against different data. Often the solution works with one kind of input data but doesn't work with others. Check the «Tests» tab to figure this out, you can find hints at the error output.

My code is different from the teacher's one 🤔

It's fine. 🙆 One task in programming can be solved in many different ways. If your code passed all tests, it complies with the task conditions.

In some rare cases, the solution may be adjusted to the tests, but this can be seen immediately.

I've read the lessons but nothing is clear 🙄

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  • Always space out arithmetic operators from your operands - this is good programming style.


  • Arithmetic operation “addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.”

  • Operator “a special symbol that creates an operation. For example, + is for addition.”

  • Operand “an object that participates in an operation. E.g., in 3 * 6, 3 and 6 are operands.”

  • Unary Operation “a single operand operation. For example, `-3' is a unary operation to get the opposite of three.”

  • Binary Operation “an operation with two operands. For example, `3 + 9'.”

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