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PHP | Ternary Operator

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  • Last Updated : 02 Sep, 2021

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.

Advantages of Ternary Operator: Following are some advantages of ternary operator:

  • The use of the ternary operator will make the code shorter in comparison to the IF ELSE statement.
  • The code can be quick in length in comparison to the IF ELSE statement.
  • The readability of the code will increase with the usage of conditional statements.
  • The use of the ternary operator makes the code simpler.

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;

PHP is a server-side scripting language designed specifically for web development. You can learn PHP from the ground up by following this PHP Tutorial and PHP Examples.

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