**Hint:**You can adjust the default video playback speed in your account settings.

**Hint:**You can set your subtitle preferences in your account settings.

**Sorry!**Looks like there’s an issue with video playback 🙁 This might be due to a temporary outage or because of a configuration issue with your browser. Please see our video player troubleshooting guide to resolve the issue.

# Zero Division

**00:00**
Here, we’re going to see how the Python `or`

operator can present one solution to writing arithmetic programs that might potentially divide by zero.

**00:11**
In mathematics, division by zero is undefined and it will cause a Python program to crash if you attempt it. So if I try to do something meaningful like `5 / 3`

, Python will tell me what that is.

**00:27**
But if I try to take `5 / 0`

, I get a division by zero error. And if you have a division calculation in your program where the denominator could be a variable, you might want to take steps to prevent the program from crashing.

**00:43**
There are lots of solutions to this. The one we’re going to look at today involves using the word `or`

. So, one solution is to create your own division function.

**00:58**
It’s going to perform `a`

divided by `b`

and check if `b`

is not `0`

,

**01:07**
then we can return `a / b`

. And so I can do `divide()`

, `5`

divided by `3`

. I get the same result as before.

**01:24**
And if I try to divide `5`

by `0`

, the program doesn’t crash. The function doesn’t do anything. How can we communicate that division by zero has occurred and allow other code to be written around that?

**01:42**
Well, one solution would be to take advantage not just of the `or`

operator, but of short-circuit evaluation, where I’ll check to see if `b`

is `0`

and if it evaluates to `True`

, I won’t attempt to do the division.

**01:58**
This operation will stop and I’ll return `True`

, which can be used by the part of the program that just attempted to do the division to see if a meaningful value was obtained or not.

**02:11**
If `b`

isn’t `0`

, this evaluates to `False`

and I do the second part of the `or`

operation, which is to do the division. And I know when I get here that `b`

will not be `0`

, because if it was, we would have returned from this operation by this being `True`

. So again, a subtle difference. I’m going to define a new `divide()`

,

**02:45**
which is simply going to return `True`

if `b`

is `0`

. If `b`

is not `0`

, then the second part of this `or`

expression will be evaluated, which is `a / b`

.

**03:01**
So now if I try a meaningful division, `b`

is not `0`

, so we do the division `a / b`

. It gives us the value that we want.

**03:14**
On the other hand, if I do attempt division by zero, it returns `True`

. Importantly, it doesn’t crash, and also I get a value back that I can then use to determine if I had a valid division calculation done or not.

**03:35**
So now that we’ve defined this `divide()`

function, let’s see how it might be used. I have here a few code snippets. So first, we have our `divide()`

function, which will return `True`

if we’re trying to divide by zero. And if we’re not, it will actually return the quotient of `a`

divided by `b`

.

**03:57**
And here’s a function where we might use that, called `dividing()`

for lack of a better term. We prompt the user for values for `a`

and for `b`

and then we call the `divide()`

function, but being sure to save the result to a variable before we try to use that.

**04:15**
We know that if this method returns `True`

, we tried to do division by zero, so the program should act accordingly. In this case, we’re just going to print `"no result, division by zero attempted"`

.

**04:30**
If `quotient`

is not identically equal to `True`

, then it returned a number and we can output that result or use that however we need it.

**04:42**
So if we want to see this in action,

**04:47**
we will import this file,

**04:52**
I call `dividing()`

. It asks for the first number, say `9`

. It asks for the second number, divide `9`

by `2`

, and we get `4.5`

. If I call `dividing()`

again and this time we try to divide by zero, we get that warning.

**05:15**
What you do in an actual program would probably be more meaningful than this. This is just to illustrate how we can check the `divide()`

function’s result before actually trying to use it.

**05:29**
We have one more example to look at, and that involves a `lambda`

calculation, where `or`

can let us do some pretty cool things.

Become a Member to join the conversation.