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# Operators

An operator is a symbol or keyword that manipulates, combines, or transforms data. For example, the following code uses the multiplication operator (`*`) to multiply 5 times 6:

`5 * 6;`

Though each operator has its own specialized task, all operators share a number of general characteristics. Before we consider the operators individually, let's see how they behave generally.

Operators perform actions using the data values (operands) supplied. For example, in the operation `5 * 6`, the numbers 5 and 6 are the operands of the multiplication operator (`*`).

Operations can be combined to form complex expressions. For example:

`((width * height) - (Math.PI * radius * radius)) / 2`

When expressions become very large, consider using variables to hold interim results for both convenience and clarity. Remember to name your variables descriptively. For example, the following code has the same result as the preceding expression but is much easier to read:

```var radius:int = 10;
var height:int = 25;
var circleArea:Number = (Math.PI * radius * radius);
var cylinderVolume:Number = circleArea * height;```

## Number of Operands

Operators are sometimes categorized according to how many operands they take (i.e., require or operate on). Some ActionScript operators take one operand, some take two, and one even takes three:

```-x                                         // One operand
x * y                                      // Two operands
(x == y) ? "true result" : "false result"  // Three operands```

Single-operand operators are called unary operators; operators that take two operands are called ...

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