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Ternary Operators in C Programming: A Beginners Guide (2023)

Article by: Manish Methani

Last Updated: November 5, 2021 at 2:04pm IST
4 min 12 sec read

Ternary operators are an important concept in C programming language. They are also known as conditional expressions and can be used to evaluate a condition and assign a value based on the result of that condition. In this tutorial, we will explore the use of ternary operators in C programming language.

What are Ternary Operators?

Ternary operators are a shorthand way of writing conditional statements in C programming language. They are used to evaluate a condition and assign a value based on the result of that condition. Ternary operators take the form of:

(condition) ? true-value : false-value;

The condition is evaluated first. If it is true, the true-value is returned. If it is false, the false-value is returned. The ternary operator is also known as a conditional operator.

Why Use Ternary Operators?

Ternary operators are often used to simplify code and make it more concise. They can be used to replace if-else statements in situations where only one of two values is required. Ternary operators can also be nested to perform more complex operations.

Example of Ternary Operators

Here is an example of how ternary operators can be used in C programming language:

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
   int a = 10, b = 5;
   int max = (a > b) ? a : b;
   printf("The maximum value is %d", max);
   return 0;
}

In this example, we declare two variables a and b, and then use a ternary operator to assign the maximum value to the variable max. The ternary operator (a > b) ? a : b evaluates the condition a > b. If this condition is true, then the value of a is assigned to max. If the condition is false, then the value of b is assigned to max.

Nested Ternary Operators

Ternary operators can be nested to perform more complex operations. Here is an example of how nested ternary operators can be used in C programming language:

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
   int a = 10, b = 5, c = 15;
   int max = (a > b) ? ((a > c) ? a : c) : ((b > c) ? b : c);
   printf("The maximum value is %d", max);
   return 0;
}

In this example, we declare three variables a, b, and c, and then use nested ternary operators to assign the maximum value to the variable max. The nested ternary operator (a > c) ? a : c evaluates the condition a > c. If this condition is true, then the value of a is assigned to max. If the condition is false, then the value of c is assigned to max. Similarly, the nested ternary operator (b > c) ? b : c evaluates the condition b > c. If this condition is true, then the value of b is assigned to max. If the condition is false, then the value of c is assigned to max. Finally, the outer ternary operator (a > b) ? ... : ... evaluates the condition a > b. If this condition is true, then the value of the nested ternary operator (a > c) ? a : c is assigned to max. If the condition is false, then the value of the nested ternary operator `(b > c) ? b : c

 

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