C Operators: Arithmetic, Logical, Conditional and more

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C Programming Operators

An operator is a symbol which operates on a value or a variable. For example: + is an operator to perform addition.

C programming has wide range of operators to perform various operations. For better understanding of operators, these operators can be classified as:

C Arithmetic Operators

An arithmetic operator performs mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction and multiplication on numerical values (constants and variables).

Example #1: Arithmetic Operators

The operators +, – and * computes addition, subtraction and multiplication respectively as you might have expected.

In normal calculation, 9/4 = 2.25 . However, the output is 2 in the program.

It is because both variables a and b are integers. Hence, the output is also an integer. The compiler neglects the term after decimal point and shows answer 2 instead of 2.25.

The modulo operator % computes the remainder. When a = 9 is divided by b = 4 , the remainder is 1. The % operator can only be used with integers.

Increment and decrement operators

C programming has two operators increment ++ and decrement — to change the value of an operand (constant or variable) by 1.

Increment ++ increases the value by 1 whereas decrement — decreases the value by 1. These two operators are unary operators, meaning they only operate on a single operand.

Example #2: Increment and Decrement Operators

Here, the operators ++ and — are used as prefix. These two operators can also be used as postfix like a++ and a– . Visit this page to learn more on how increment and decrement operators work when used as postfix.

C Assignment Operators

An assignment operator is used for assigning a value to a variable. The most common assignment operator is =

Example #3: Assignment Operators

C Relational Operators

A relational operator checks the relationship between two operands. If the relation is true, it returns 1; if the relation is false, it returns value 0.

Relational operators are used in decision making and loops.

Example #4: Relational Operators

C Logical Operators

An expression containing logical operator returns either 0 or 1 depending upon whether expression results true or false. Logical operators are commonly used in decision making in C programming.

Example #5: Logical Operators

Explanation of logical operator program

  • (a == b) && (c > 5) evaluates to 1 because both operands (a == b) and (c > b) is 1 (true).
  • (a == b) && (c < b) evaluates to 0 because operand (c < b) is 0 (false).
  • (a == b) || (c < b) evaluates to 1 because (a = b) is 1 (true).
  • (a != b) || (c < b) evaluates to 0 because both operand (a != b) and (c < b) are 0 (false).
  • !(a != b) evaluates to 1 because operand (a != b) is 0 (false). Hence, !(a != b) is 1 (true).
  • !(a == b) evaluates to 0 because (a == b) is 1 (true). Hence, !(a == b) is 0 (false).

Bitwise Operators

During computation, mathematical operations like: addition, subtraction, addition and division are converted to bit-level which makes processing faster and saves power.

Bitwise operators are used in C programming to perform bit-level operations.

Other Operators

Comma Operator

Comma operators are used to link related expressions together. For example:

The sizeof operator

The sizeof is an unary operator which returns the size of data (constant, variables, array, structure etc).

Example #6: sizeof Operator

C Ternary Operator (?:)

A conditional operator is a ternary operator, that is, it works on 3 operands.

Conditional Operator Syntax

The conditional operator works as follows:

  • The first expression conditionalExpression is evaluated first. This expression evaluates to 1 if it's true and evaluates to 0 if it's false.
  • If conditionalExpression is true, expression1 is evaluated.
  • If conditionalExpression is false, expression2 is evaluated.

Example #7: C conditional Operator

Other operators such as & (reference operator), * (dereference operator) and -> (member selection) operator will be discussed in C pointers.

Check out these examples to learn more:

C Programming

C Introduction

C Flow Control

C Functions

C Programming Arrays

C Programming Pointers

C Programming Strings

Structure And Union

C Programming Files

Additional Topics

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