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Python Language Reference Manual
by Guido van Rossum and Fred L. Drake, Jr.
Paperback (6"x9"), 120 pages
ISBN 0954161785
RRP £12.95 ($19.95)

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5.6 Binary arithmetic operations

The binary arithmetic operations have the conventional priority levels. Note that some of these operations also apply to certain non-numeric types. Apart from the power operator, there are only two levels, one for multiplicative operators and one for additive operators:

m_expr u_expr
| m_expr "*" u_expr | m_expr "//" u_expr | m_expr "/" u_expr | m_expr "%" u_expr
a_expr m_expr
| a_expr "+" m_expr | a_expr "-" m_expr

The * (multiplication) operator yields the product of its arguments. The arguments must either both be numbers, or one argument must be an integer (plain or long) and the other must be a sequence. In the former case, the numbers are converted to a common type and then multiplied together. In the latter case, sequence repetition is performed; a negative repetition factor yields an empty sequence.

The / (division) and // (floor division) operators yield the quotient of their arguments. The numeric arguments are first converted to a common type. Plain or long integer division yields an integer of the same type; the result is that of mathematical division with the `floor' function applied to the result. Division by zero raises the ZeroDivisionError exception.

The % (modulo) operator yields the remainder from the division of the first argument by the second. The numeric arguments are first converted to a common type. A zero right argument raises the ZeroDivisionError exception. The arguments may be floating point numbers, e.g., 3.14%0.7 equals 0.34 (since 3.14 equals 4*0.7 + 0.34.) The modulo operator always yields a result with the same sign as its second operand (or zero); the absolute value of the result is strictly smaller than the absolute value of the second operand(11).

The integer division and modulo operators are connected by the following identity: x == (x/y)*y + (x%y). Integer division and modulo are also connected with the built-in function divmod(): divmod(x, y) == (x/y, x%y). These identities don't hold for floating point numbers; there similar identities hold approximately where x/y is replaced by floor(x/y) or floor(x/y) - 1 instead(12).

In addition to performing the modulo operation on numbers, the % operator is also overloaded by string and unicode objects to perform string formatting (also known as interpolation). The syntax for string formatting is described in the Python Library Reference Manual, section "Sequence Types".

This is deprecated in Python 2.3. The floor division operator, the modulo operator, and the divmod() function are no longer defined for complex numbers. Instead, convert to a floating point number using the abs() function if appropriate.

The + (addition) operator yields the sum of its arguments. The arguments must either both be numbers or both sequences of the same type. In the former case, the numbers are converted to a common type and then added together. In the latter case, the sequences are concatenated.

The - (subtraction) operator yields the difference of its arguments. The numeric arguments are first converted to a common type.

ISBN 0954161785Python Language Reference ManualSee the print edition