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Operators are special symbols that perform specific operations on one, two, or three operands, and then return a result. Java provides a rich set of operators to manipulate variables or primitive data types. We can divide all the Java operators into the following groups −

  • Arithmetic Operators
  • Relational Operators
  • Bitwise Operators
  • Logical Operators
  • Assignment Operators
  • Miscellaneous Operators

The Arithmetic Operators: Arithmetic operators perform the same basic operations or mathematical expressions you would expect if you used them in algebra. They take two operands and return the result of the mathematical calculation. The following table lists the arithmetic operators by Java language. Assume integer variable A holds 10 and variable B holds 20, then −

OperatorDescriptionExample
+ (Addition)Adds values on either side of the operator.A + B will give 30
– (Subtraction)Subtracts right-hand operand from left-hand operand.A – B will give -10
* (Multiplication)Multiplies values on either side of the operator.A * B will give 200
/ (Division)Divides left-hand operand by right-hand operand.B / A will give 2
% (Modulus)Divides left-hand operand by right-hand operand and returns remainder.B % A will give 0
++ (Increment)Increases the value of operand by 1.B++ gives 21
(Decrement)Decreases the value of operand by 1.B– gives 19

The Relational Operators: Relational Operators are used to determine the comparison between two or more objects. These operators always return the boolean value either true or false when used in an expression. There are following relational operators supported by Java language. Assume variable A holds 10 and variable B holds 20, then −

OperatorDescriptionExample
== (equal to)Checks if the values of two operands are equal or not, if yes then condition becomes true.(A == B) is not true.
!= (not equal to)Checks if the values of two operands are equal or not, if values are not equal then condition becomes true.(A != B) is true.
> (greater than)Checks if the value of left operand is greater than the value of right operand, if yes then condition becomes true.(A > B) is not true.
< (less than)Checks if the value of left operand is less than the value of right operand, if yes then condition becomes true.(A < B) is true.
>= (greater than or equal to)Checks if the value of left operand is greater than or equal to the value of right operand, if yes then condition becomes true.(A >= B) is not true.
<= (less than or equal to)Checks if the value of left operand is less than or equal to the value of right operand, if yes then condition becomes true.(A <= B) is true.

The Bitwise Operators: Java defines several bitwise operators, which can be applied to the integer types, long, int, short, char, and byte. Bitwise operator works on bits and performs bit-by-bit operation. Assume if a = 60 and b = 13; now in binary format they will be as follows −

OperatorDescriptionExample
& (bitwise and)Binary AND Operator copies a bit to the result if it exists in both operands.(A & B) will give 12 which is 0000 1100
| (bitwise or)Binary OR Operator copies a bit if it exists in either operand.(A | B) will give 61 which is 0011 1101
^ (bitwise XOR)Binary XOR Operator copies the bit if it is set in one operand but not both.(A ^ B) will give 49 which is 0011 0001
~ (bitwise compliment)Binary Ones Complement Operator is unary and has the effect of ‘flipping’ bits.(~A ) will give -61 which is 1100 0011 in 2’s complement form due to a signed binary number.
<< (left shift)Binary Left Shift Operator. The left operands value is moved left by the number of bits specified by the right operand.A << 2 will give 240 which is 1111 0000
>> (right shift)Binary Right Shift Operator. The left operands value is moved right by the number of bits specified by the right operand.A >> 2 will give 15 which is 1111
>>> (zero fill right shift)Shift right zero fill operator. The left operands value is moved right by the number of bits specified by the right operand and shifted values are filled up with zeros.A >>>2 will give 15 which is 0000 1111

The Logical Operators: Logical operators return a true or false value based on the state of the Variables. Each argument to a logical operator must be a boolean data type, and the result is always a boolean data type. Below are the three most commonly used logical operators –

OperatorDescriptionExample
&& (logical and)Called Logical AND operator. If both the operands are non-zero, then the condition becomes true.(A && B) is false
|| (logical or)Called Logical OR Operator. If any of the two operands are non-zero, then the condition becomes true.(A || B) is true
! (logical not)Called Logical NOT Operator. Use to reverses the logical state of its operand. If a condition is true then Logical NOT operator will make false.!(A && B) is true

The Assignment Operator: Assignment Operator is denoted by the symbol “=” and it is the most commonly used operator. it simply assigns the value on the right to the variable on the left. Syntax of the assignment operator is <variable> = <expression>.

OperatorDescriptionExample
=Simple assignment operator. Assigns values from right side operands to left side operand.C = A + B will assign value of A + B into C
+=Add AND assignment operator. It adds right operand to the left operand and assign the result to left operand.C += A is equivalent to C = C + A
-=Subtract AND assignment operator. It subtracts right operand from the left operand and assign the result to left operand.C -= A is equivalent to C = C – A
*=Multiply AND assignment operator. It multiplies right operand with the left operand and assign the result to left operand.C *= A is equivalent to C = C * A
/=Divide AND assignment operator. It divides left operand with the right operand and assign the result to left operand.C /= A is equivalent to C = C / A
%=Modulus AND assignment operator. It takes modulus using two operands and assign the result to left operand.C %= A is equivalent to C = C % A
<<=Left shift AND assignment operator.C <<= 2 is same as C = C << 2
>>=Right shift AND assignment operator.C >>= 2 is same as C = C >> 2
&=Bitwise AND assignment operator.C &= 2 is same as C = C & 2
^=bitwise exclusive OR and assignment operator.C ^= 2 is same as C = C ^ 2
|=bitwise inclusive OR and assignment operator.C |= 2 is same as C = C | 2

The Miscellaneous Operators: There are few other operators supported by Java Language.

  • Conditional Operator ( ? : ): Conditional operator is also known as the ternary operator. This operator consists of three operands and is used to evaluate Boolean expressions. The goal of the operator is to decide, which value should be assigned to the variable. The operator is written as −

  • instanceof Operator: This operator is used only for object reference variables. The operator checks whether the object is of a particular type (class type or interface type). instanceof operator is written as −

  • Precedence of Java Operators: Operator precedence determines the grouping of terms in an expression. This affects how an expression is evaluated. Certain operators have higher precedence than others; for example, the multiplication operator has higher precedence than the addition operator − For example, x = 7 + 3 * 2; here x is assigned 13, not 20 because operator * has higher precedence than +, so it first gets multiplied with 3 * 2 and then adds into 7.
    CategoryOperatorAssociativity
    Postfix>() [] . (dot operator)Left toright
    Unary>++ – – ! ~Right to left
    Multiplicative>* /Left to right
    Additive>+ –Left to right
    Shift>>> >>> <<Left to right
    Relational>> >= < <=Left to right
    Equality>== !=Left to right
    Bitwise AND>&Left to right
    Bitwise XOR>^Left to right
    Bitwise OR>|Left to right
    Logical AND>&&Left to right
    Logical OR>||Left to right
    Conditional?:Right to left
    Assignment>= += -= *= /= %= >>= <<= &= ^= |=Right to left
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