# Operator Precedence in Java

Prasad Shindikar

Ranch Hand

Posts: 114

posted 5 years ago

What is the value of the expression : 3+4-5*2/7 ?

I tried to solve it manually as follows. Since operator precedence is checked from LEFT to RIGHT of an expression, Multiplication(*) will happen first, followed by DIVIDE (/), followed by ADD(+) and finally SUBTRACT (-)

Here are the steps.

3+4-5*2/7

3+4-10/7

3+4-1.4

7-1.4

5.6

However, when I try to run the same in Java, I get the answer as 6.0

Can anyone explain, how operator precedence works?

I tried to solve it manually as follows. Since operator precedence is checked from LEFT to RIGHT of an expression, Multiplication(*) will happen first, followed by DIVIDE (/), followed by ADD(+) and finally SUBTRACT (-)

Here are the steps.

3+4-5*2/7

3+4-10/7

3+4-1.4

7-1.4

5.6

However, when I try to run the same in Java, I get the answer as 6.0

Can anyone explain, how operator precedence works?

Bobby Smallman

Ranch Hand

Posts: 107

posted 5 years ago

Without seeing your program I cannot be positive what is going on here, but I suspect it you are not using float or double variables and you are ending up with a rounded answer.

Also just a tip, which I'm sure you are aware of, adding parenthesis to complex math code makes code significantly more readable and more difficult to make mistakes.

Also just a tip, which I'm sure you are aware of, adding parenthesis to complex math code makes code significantly more readable and more difficult to make mistakes.

Everyday in every way, we get a little better.

Christian Dillinger

Ranch Hand

Posts: 197

posted 5 years ago

It's quite obvious that if using constants here, JVM takes pure int-arithmetic. That's why 5*2/7 is 1.

Operators are checked from left to right BUT with checking precedence!

First it's 5*2 => 10. Then 10/7 => 1 (because it's int!). Then 3 + 4 - 1 => 6.

If / was over * it would be 3 + 4 + (5*(2/7)) => 3 + 4 + (5*0) => 7

Bobby Smallman wrote:Without seeing your program I cannot be positive what is going on here, but I suspect it you are not using float or double variables and you are ending up with a rounded answer.

Also just a tip, which I'm sure you are aware of, adding parenthesis to complex math code makes code significantly more readable and more difficult to make mistakes.

It's quite obvious that if using constants here, JVM takes pure int-arithmetic. That's why 5*2/7 is 1.

Operators are checked from left to right BUT with checking precedence!

First it's 5*2 => 10. Then 10/7 => 1 (because it's int!). Then 3 + 4 - 1 => 6.

If / was over * it would be 3 + 4 + (5*(2/7)) => 3 + 4 + (5*0) => 7

Prasad Shindikar

Ranch Hand

Posts: 114

posted 5 years ago

I seemed to have forgotten the basic rule that when we use two integers for an arithmetic operation, the result is always an INT!

Thanks!

However, I am unable to understand

What do you mean by checking precedence?

Thanks!

However, I am unable to understand

Operators are checked from left to right BUT with checking precedence!

What do you mean by checking precedence?

Christian Dillinger

Ranch Hand

Posts: 197

posted 5 years ago

The are operators having a higher "value" than others, that precendence. So the JVM takes that statement "3+4-5*2/7" and tries to calculate... It divides the statement into smaller parts. And where does it divide if it has more than one possibility? It takes the operators with the lower "value".

So it should look like this:

3+(4-5*2/7)

Next step: resolve the part inside braces.

=> 3 + ( 4 + (5*2/7))

and so on.

May be this is a bad example because the "error" was just because of int-arithmetic.

Take 3*4/2+1/4*5.

Lowest "value" is +. So you get (3*4/2) + (1/4*5). Now you only have ops that have the same "value". They are checked from left to right. => (3*4)/2 and (1/4)*5.

Here can find a table with the operators and their "value": http://download.oracle.com/javase/tutorial/java/nutsandbolts/operators.html

So it should look like this:

3+(4-5*2/7)

Next step: resolve the part inside braces.

=> 3 + ( 4 + (5*2/7))

and so on.

May be this is a bad example because the "error" was just because of int-arithmetic.

Take 3*4/2+1/4*5.

Lowest "value" is +. So you get (3*4/2) + (1/4*5). Now you only have ops that have the same "value". They are checked from left to right. => (3*4)/2 and (1/4)*5.

Here can find a table with the operators and their "value": http://download.oracle.com/javase/tutorial/java/nutsandbolts/operators.html