Arithmetic Expression

What Does Arithmetic Expression Mean?

An arithmetic expression is an expression in code that consists of a numeric value.


Techopedia Explains Arithmetic Expression

Arithmetic expressions are extremely important in fundamental computer syntax because they provide numeric values that support code functions. By contrast, other kinds of expressions, such as character expressions or Boolean expressions, contain different kinds of indicators.

Character expressions contained text values or individual letters or characters for analysis or display, while Boolean expressions contain one of two Boolean values: true or false.

There are two different kinds of arithmetic expressions in computer programming syntax: integers or real numbers, and real or floating point numbers. The latter are used to identify and store complex numbers that may not fit into an integer value.

In computer code, operators and functions work on individual expressions or sets of expressions including arithmetic, character and Boolean expressions. These provide the basis for the kinds of data work that go on within a software program.

For instance, programmers define different variables that change value with input or user-generated changes. These in turn provide for computational results according to the code and algorithms present in the software.

Within this context, arithmetic expressions are, again, at the core of how computers deal with information.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…