## 6.1.5 Arithmetic Expressions

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Arithmetic expressions are used as operands of certain conditional and arithmetic statements.
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An arithmetic expression can consist of any of the following:
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1. An identifier described as a numeric elementary item (including numeric functions)
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2. A numeric literal
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3. The figurative constant ZERO
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4. Identifiers and literals, as defined in items 1, 2, and 3, separated by arithmetic operators
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5. Two arithmetic expressions, as defined in items 1, 2, 3, and/or 4, separated by an arithmetic operator
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6. An arithmetic expression, as defined in items 1, 2, 3, 4, and/or 5, enclosed in parentheses.
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Any arithmetic expression can be preceded by a unary operator.
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Identifiers and literals appearing in arithmetic expressions must represent either numeric elementary items or numeric literals on which arithmetic can be performed.
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If an exponential expression is evaluated as both a positive and a negative number, the result will always be the positive number. The square root of 4, for example,
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4 ** 0.5 (the square root of 4)

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is evaluated as +2 and -2. IBM COBOL always returns +2.
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If the value of an expression to be raised to a power is zero, the exponent must have a value greater than zero. Otherwise, the size error condition exists. In any case where no real number exists as the result of the evaluation, the size error condition exists.
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