JavaScript – Operator Precedence

If you’ve ever worked with JavaScript, you’re likely familiar with operators. They’re symbols that allow you to perform operations on variables and values. But did you know that not all operators have the same priority? Understanding operator precedence is crucial for writing efficient and bug-free JavaScript code.

Basic Operators in JavaScript

Before delving into operator precedence, let’s briefly review the basic operators in JavaScript.

Arithmetic Operators

These operators are used to perform arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Examples include +, -, *, and /.

Comparison Operators

Comparison operators are used to compare values. They return a Boolean value (true or false) based on whether the comparison is true or false. Examples include ==, !=, ===, and !==.

Logical Operators

Logical operators are used to perform logical operations on values. They’re typically used with Boolean (logical) values and return a Boolean result. Examples include &&, ||, and !.

Understanding Operator Precedence

What is Operator Precedence?

Operator precedence determines the order in which operators are evaluated in an expression. Operators with higher precedence are evaluated first.

How does it work in JavaScript?

JavaScript follows a specific set of rules to determine operator precedence. For example, multiplication and division have a higher precedence than addition and subtraction. This means that expressions like 2 + 3 * 4 will result in 14, not 20, because multiplication takes precedence over addition.

Operator Precedence Examples

Let’s look at some examples to better understand operator precedence in JavaScript.

Simple Arithmetic Example

Consider the expression 2 + 3 * 4. Due to operator precedence, JavaScript will first evaluate 3 * 4, which equals 12, and then add 2 to it, resulting in 14.

Mixing Operators Example

In more complex expressions involving different types of operators, understanding precedence becomes crucial. For example, (2 + 3) * 4 will result in 20 because parentheses are used to change the precedence, ensuring addition is performed before multiplication.

Parentheses for Changing Precedence

Parentheses can be used to override the default precedence of operators in JavaScript. By enclosing expressions within parentheses, you can explicitly specify the order of evaluation.

Tips for Dealing with Operator Precedence

Here are some tips to help you deal with operator precedence effectively:

  • Use parentheses to clarify expressions, especially in complex ones.
  • Avoid overly complex expressions that might be difficult to understand at a glance.


Understanding operator precedence is essential for writing clear and concise JavaScript code. By knowing which operators take precedence over others, you can avoid unexpected results and write more maintainable code.

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