Object of a mathematical operation, quantity on which an operation is performed

The following arithmetic expression shows an example of operators and operands:

In the above example, '+' is the symbol for the operation called addition.

The result of the operation is 9. (The number '9' is also called the sum of the augend 3 and the addend 6.)

An operand, then, is also referred to as "one of the inputs (quantities) for an operation".

Operands may be complex, and may consist of expressions also made up of operators with operands.

In the above expression '(3 + 5)' is the first operand for the multiplication operator and '2' the second. The operand '(3 + 5)' is an expression in itself, which contains an addition operator, with the operands '3' and '5'.

In the above expression, the multiplication operator has the higher precedence than the addition operator, so the multiplication operator has operands of '5' and '2'. The addition operator has operands of '3' and '5 × 2'.

Below is a comparison of three different notations — all represent an addition of the numbers '1' and '2'

In a mathematical expression, the order of operation is carried out from left to right. Start with the leftmost value and seek the first operation to be carried out in accordance with the order specified above (i.e., start with parentheses and end with the addition/subtraction group). For example, in the expression

The next step is to calculate the value of expression inside the parenthesis itself, that is, (2 + 4) = 6. Our expression now looks like this:

The next order of operation is multiplication. 4 × 4 is 16. Now our expression looks like this:

The next order of operation according to the rules is division. However, there is no division operator sign (÷) in the expression, 16 − 6. So we move on to the next order of operation, i.e., addition and subtraction, which have the same precedence and are done left to right.

It is important to carry out the order of operation in accordance with rules set by convention. If the reader evaluates an expression but does not follow the correct order of operation, the reader will come forth with a different value. The different value will be the incorrect value because the order of operation was not followed. The reader will arrive at the correct value for the expression if and only if each operation is carried out in the proper order.