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PHP | Ternary Operator

  • Last Updated : 27 Apr, 2020

If-else and Switch cases are used to evaluate conditions and decide the flow of a program. The ternary operator is a shortcut operator used for shortening the conditional statements.

ternary operator: The ternary operator (?:) is a conditional operator used to perform a simple comparison or check on a condition having simple statements. It decreases the length of the code performing conditional operations. The order of operation of this operator is from left to right. It is called a ternary operator because it takes three operands- a condition, a result statement for true and a result statement for false. The syntax for the ternary operator is as follows.

(Condition) ? (Statement1) : (Statement2);
  • Condition: It is the expression to be evaluated and returns a boolean value.
  • Statement 1: It is the statement to be executed if the condition results in a true state.
  • Statement 2: It is the statement to be executed if the condition results in a false state.

The result of this comparison can also be assigned to a variable using the assignment operator. The syntax is as follows:

Variable = (Condition) ? (Statement1) : (Statement2);

If the statement executed depending on the condition returns any value, it will be assigned to the variable.

Example 1: In this example, if the value of $a is greater than 15, then 20 will be returned and will be assigned to $b, else 5 will be returned and assigned to $b.

$a = 10;
$b = $a > 15 ? 20 : 5;
print ("Value of b is " . $b);


Value of b is 5

Example 2: In this example, if the value of $age is more than or equal to 18, “Adult” is passed to print function and printed, else “Not Adult” is passed and printed.

$age = 20;
print ($age >= 18) ? "Adult" : "Not Adult";



When we use ternary operator: We use the ternary operator when we need to simplify the if-else statements that are simply assigning values to variables depending on a condition. An advantage of using a ternary operator is that it reduces the huge if-else block to a single line, improving the code readability and simplify it. Very useful while assigning variables after form submission.

  • Original Code:

        $name = $_POST['Name'];
        $name = null;
        $age = $_POST['Age'];
        $age = null;
  • Reduced to the following: Thus, the ternary operator successfully reduces the if-else block to a single line, hence serving its purpose.

    $name = isset($_POST['Name'])?$_POST['Name']:null; 
    $age = isset($_POST['Age'])?$_POST['Age']:null; 

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