JS101: Ternary Operator

Kelsey Dickson
2 min readSep 4, 2020


Let’s talk about the ternary operator! The ternary operator is a conditional operator that can efficiently replace several lines of IF statements, allowing us shorter and tidier code. The ternary operator is the only JavaScript operator that takes 3 operands.

IF statement

let pay_babysitter = trueif (pay_babysitter) {
} else {
"Need to pay!"
// output: "Paid!"


Ternary Operator

Let’s break it down:

condition ?  true  :  false ? - means IF
: - means ELSE

condition: An expression that’s used as a condition

true: An expression in which the condition evaluates to a truthy value

false : An expression in which the condition is falsy value

Things to keep in mind

Beside false , other examples of falsy expressions are null , NAN , undefined , 0 , or an empty string(“ “). If the condition represents any falsy values, the result will be executed as a false expression.

Wrapping up

Ternary operators are best for readability when they are used for a single expression. If you find yourself writing an IF/ELSE statement, consider using the ternary operator.