Math Basics

Basic Mathematical Operations

What does an equal sign represent?

In standard arithmetic terms, the equal sign ( = ) is a symbol that represents two amounts with the same value. For example 7 = 7; or 3 + 4 = 7. When something is not equal, the sign is ≠, as in 2 ≠ 3 or 3 + 7 ≠ 12.

In a line of computer code, the equal sign can mean something much different. For example, for codes used under certain conditions, such as a JavaScript-reading computer, a single equal sign in a line of script means “is.” There is even a double equal sign (==) that means “is equal to,” an important difference when writing code for the computer. In addition—and confusing as it may seem—the computer codes for “not equal” are different, and include ! = and / =.


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