I know the basic operators (+,_,*,/) but I get confuse between the complex ones such as **, ^, %, //.  What does these operators mean and for what it is used? Apr 11, 2018 in Python 156 views

## 3 answers to this question.

** - Performs exponential (power) calculation on operators

^ - Binary XOR

% - Modulus (Divides left hand operand by right hand operand and returns remainder)

// - divide with integral result (discard remainder)

Consider the below example:

```a=10

b=20

print(a**b)

print(a^b)

print(a%b)

print(a//b)```

Output:

```100000000000000000000

30

10

0``` answered Apr 11, 2018 by
• 3,440 points

selected Oct 12, 2018 by Omkar
+1 vote

You can find all of those operators in the Python language reference, though you'll have to scroll around a bit to find them all. As other answers have said:

• The ** operator does exponentiation. a ** b is a raised to the b power. The same ** symbol is also used in function argument and calling notations, with a different meaning (passing and receiving arbitrary keyword arguments).
• The ^ operator does a binary xor. a ^ b will return a value with only the bits set in a or in b but not both. This one is simple!
• The % operator is mostly to find the modulus of two integers. a % b returns the remainder after dividing a by b. Unlike the modulus operators in some other programming languages (such as C), in Python a modulus it will have the same sign as b, rather than the same sign as a. The same operator is also used for the "old" style of string formatting, so a % b can return a string if a is a format string and b is a value (or tuple of values) which can be inserted into a.
• The // operator does Python's version of integer division. Python's integer division is not exactly the same as the integer division offered by some other languages (like C), since it rounds towards negative infinity, rather than towards zero. Together with the modulus operator, you can say that a == (a // b)*b + (a % b). In Python 2, floor division is the default behavior when you divide two integers (using the normal division operator /). Since this can be unexpected (especially when you're not picky about what types of numbers you get as arguments to a function), Python 3 has changed to make "true" (floating point) division the norm for division that would be rounded off otherwise, and it will do "floor" division only when explicitly requested. (You can also get the new behavior in Python 2 by putting from __future__ import division at the top of your files. I strongly recommend it!) answered Oct 12, 2018 by
• 4,790 points
+1 vote answered Oct 12, 2018 by abc

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