Chapter: Java The Complete Reference - The Java Language - Operators

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Using Parentheses

Parentheses raise the precedence of the operations that are inside them. This is often necessary to obtain the result you desire.

Using Parentheses

 

Parentheses raise the precedence of the operations that are inside them. This is often necessary to obtain the result you desire. For example, consider the following expression:

 

a >> b + 3

 

This expression first adds 3 to b and then shifts a right by that result. That is, this expression can be rewritten using redundant parentheses like this:

 

a >> (b + 3)

 

However, if you want to first shift a right by b positions and then add 3 to that result, you will need to parenthesize the expression like this:

 

(a >> b) + 3

 

In addition to altering the normal precedence of an operator, parentheses can sometimes be used to help clarify the meaning of an expression. For anyone reading your code, a complicated expression can be difficult to understand. Adding redundant but clarifying parentheses to complex expressions can help prevent confusion later. For example, which of the following expressions is easier to read?

 

a | 4 + c >> b & 7

 

(a | (((4 + c) >> b) & 7))

 

One other point: parentheses (redundant or not) do not degrade the performance of your program. Therefore, adding parentheses to reduce ambiguity does not negatively affect your program.

 

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