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Arithmetic operators

Arithmetic operators take numerical values (either literals or variables) as their operands and return a single numerical value. The standard arithmetic operators are addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), and division (/).

Addition (+)

The addition operator produces the sum of numeric operands or string concatenation.

Syntax

Operator: x + y

Examples

// Number + Number -> addition
1 + 2 // 3

// Boolean + Number -> addition
true + 1 // 2

// Boolean + Boolean -> addition
false + false // 0

// Number + String -> concatenation
5 + "foo" // "5foo"

// String + Boolean -> concatenation
"foo" + false // "foofalse"

// String + String -> concatenation
"foo" + "bar" // "foobar"

Subtraction (-)

The subtraction operator subtracts the two operands, producing their difference.

Syntax

Operator: x - y

Examples

5 - 3 // 2
3 - 5 // -2
"foo" - 3 // NaN

Division (/)

The division operator produces the quotient of its operands where the left operand is the dividend and the right operand is the divisor.

Syntax

Operator: x / y

Examples

1 / 2      // returns 0.5 in JavaScript
1 / 2      // returns 0 in Java 
// (neither number is explicitly a floating point number)

1.0 / 2.0  // returns 0.5 in both JavaScript and Java

2.0 / 0    // returns Infinity in JavaScript
2.0 / 0.0  // returns Infinity too
2.0 / -0.0 // returns -Infinity in JavaScript

Multiplication (*)

The multiplication operator produces the product of the operands.

Syntax

Operator: x * y

Examples

2 * 2 // 4
-2 * 2 // -4
Infinity * 0 // NaN
Infinity * Infinity // Infinity
"foo" * 2 // NaN

Remainder (%)

The remainder operator returns the first operand modulo the second operand, that is, var1 modulo var2, in the preceding statement, where var1 and var2 are variables. The modulo function is the integer remainder of dividing var1 by var2There is a proposal to get an actual modulo operator in a future version of ECMAScript.

Syntax

Operator: var1 % var2

Examples

12 % 5 // 2
-1 % 2 // -1
NaN % 2 // NaN

Increment (++)

The increment operator increments (adds one to) its operand and returns a value.

  • If used postfix, with operator after operand (for example, x++), then it returns the value before incrementing.
  • If used prefix with operator before operand (for example, ++x), then it returns the value after incrementing.

Syntax

Operator: x++ or ++x

Examples

// Postfix 
var x = 3;
y = x++; // y = 3, x = 4

// Prefix
var a = 2;
b = ++a; // a = 3, b = 3

Decrement (--)

The decrement operator decrements (subtracts one from) its operand and returns a value.

  • If used postfix (for example, x--), then it returns the value before decrementing.
  • If used prefix (for example, --x), then it returns the value after decrementing.

Syntax

Operator: x-- or --x

Examples

// Postfix 
var x = 3;
y = x--; // y = 3, x = 2

// Prefix
var a = 2;
b = --a; // a = 1, b = 1

Unary negation (-)

The unary negation operator precedes its operand and negates it.

Syntax

Operator: -x

Examples

var x = 3;
y = -x; // y = -3, x = 3

Unary plus (+)

The unary plus operator precedes its operand and evaluates to its operand but attempts to converts it into a number, if it isn't already. Although unary negation (-) also can convert non-numbers, unary plus is the fastest and preferred way of converting something into a number, because it does not perform any other operations on the number. It can convert string representations of integers and floats, as well as the non-string values true, false, and null. Integers in both decimal and hexadecimal ("0x"-prefixed) formats are supported. Negative numbers are supported (though not for hex). If it cannot parse a particular value, it will evaluate to NaN.

Syntax

Operator: +x

Examples

+3     // 3
+"3"   // 3
+true  // 1
+false // 0
+null  // 0

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
ECMAScript 1st Edition. Standard Initial definition.
ECMAScript 5.1 (ECMA-262) Standard Defined in several sections of the specification: Additive operators, Multiplicative operators, Postfix expressions, Unary operators.
ECMAScript 2015 (6th Edition, ECMA-262) Standard Defined in several sections of the specification: Additive operators, Multiplicative operators, Postfix expressions, Unary operators.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: fscholz,
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