C Operator Precedence table with Associativity

This post demonstrates the list of operators available and their precedence with associativity in C.

What is Operator Precedence?

Operator precedence determines how operators are grouped, when different operators appear close by in one expression. For example, '*' has higher precedence than '+'. Thus, the expression a+b*c means to multiply b and c, and then add a to the product (i.e., a+(b*c)). You can overrule the precedence of the operators by using parenthesis. For example, consider the expression a+b*c, you want to first add and then multiply. In this case, write the expression as (a+b)*c.

What is Associativity?

If two operators has the same precedence, then associativity tells you in which direction the expression will be carried out by grouping operators. For example, '+' and '-' have the same precedence. Thus the expression a+b-c means to add a and b, and then subtract c from the addition (i.e., (a+b)-c). The expression is carried out from left to right direction.
Precedence - How operators are grouped in an expression. Associativity - In what order operators of equal precedence are grouped in an expression.

List of C operators in order of precedence (highest to lowest) -

Operator
Description
Associativity
( ) [ ] . -> ++ -- Parentheses (function call) (see Note 1) Brackets (array subscript) Member selection via object name Member selection via pointer Postfix increment/decrement (see Note 2) left-to-right
++ -- + - ! ~ (type) * & sizeof Prefix increment/decrement Unary plus/minus Logical negation/bitwise complement Cast (convert value to temporary value of type) Dereference Address (of operand) Determine size in bytes on this implementation right-to-left
* / % Multiplication/division/modulus left-to-right
+ - Addition/subtraction left-to-right
<> Bitwise shift left, Bitwise shift right left-to-right
< >= Relational less than/less than or equal to Relational greater than/greater than or equal to left-to-right
== != Relational is equal to/is not equal to left-to-right
& Bitwise AND left-to-right
^ Bitwise exclusive OR left-to-right
| Bitwise inclusive OR left-to-right
&& Logical AND left-to-right
| | Logical OR left-to-right
? : Ternary conditional right-to-left
= += -= *= /= %= &= ^= |= <>= Assignment Addition/subtraction assignment Multiplication/division assignment Modulus/bitwise AND assignment Bitwise exclusive/inclusive OR assignment Bitwise shift left/right assignment right-to-left
,
Comma (separate expressions) left-to-right
Note 1:
Parentheses are also used to group sub-expressions to force a different precedence; such parenthetical expressions can be nested and are evaluated from inner to outer.
Note 2:
Postfix increment/decrement have high precedence, but the actual increment or decrement of the operand is delayed (to be accomplished sometime before the statement completes execution). So in the statement y = x * z++; the current value of z is used to evaluate the expression (i.e., z++ evaluates to z) and z only incremented after all else is done. See postinc.c for another example.

Please share your thoughts on this post in the comments section. Karthik Byggari

Author & Editor

Computer Science graduate, Techie, Founder of logicallyproven, Love to Share and Read About pprogramming related things. 