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Java Numeric Promotion in Conditional Expression
  • Difficulty Level : Medium
  • Last Updated : 22 Mar, 2017

The conditional operator ? : uses the boolean value of one expression to decide which of two other expressions should be evaluated.

So, we expect the expression,

Object o1 = true ? new Integer(4) : new Float(2.0));

to be same as, 

Object o2;
if (true)
    o2 = new Integer(4);
    o2 = new Float(2.0);

But the result of running the code gives an unexpected result.





// A Java program to demonstrate that we should be careful
// when replacing conditional operator with if else or vice
// versa
class GFG
    public static void main (String[] args)
        // Expression 1 (using ?: )
        // Automatic promotion in conditional expression
        Object o1 = true ? new Integer(4) : new Float(2.0);
        // Expression 2 (Using if-else)
        // No promotion in if else statement
        Object o2;
        if (true)
            o2 = new Integer(4);
            o2 = new Float(2.0);




According to Java Language Specification Section 15.25, the conditional operator will implement numeric type promotion if there are two different types as 2nd and 3rd operand.  The rules of conversion are defined at Binary Numeric Promotion. Therefore, according to the rules given, If either operand is of type double, the other is converted to double and hence 4 becomes 4.0.

Whereas, the if/else construct does not perform numeric promotion and hence behaves as expected.

This article is contributed by Deepak Garg. If you like GeeksforGeeks and would like to contribute, you can also write an article and mail your article to See your article appearing on the GeeksforGeeks main page and help other Geeks.

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