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Is it logic operators or logical operators / arithmetic operators or arithmetical operators. I'd expect both cases to be the same (either have the al suffix or not), and I usually check Google when I"m not sure, but in this case I'm not getting consistent results:

logic operators: 77k results
logical operators: 343k results
arithmetic operators: 434k results
arithmetical operators: 10k results

marked as duplicate by GEdgar, Drew, Nigel J, Community Jan 9 '18 at 5:12

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  • English usage is rarely consistent. I'd go with Google's results (and they are what I'd use, anyway). – Mick Jan 8 '18 at 21:36
  • Google Ngrams support your findings. The preference for 'logical' here does seem less than logical. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 8 '18 at 21:41
  • @EdwinAshworth Erm... – Mick Jan 8 '18 at 21:46
  • @GEdgar This is probably one of those tricky ones where people so inclined can argue cogently 'not exactly the same', but where the only reasonable answer is 'English is idiosyncratic; go with the option most people prefer unless there's a really good reason not to'. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 8 '18 at 22:12
  • Basically, arithmetic has enough syllables, but logic doesn't, so it gets an additional -al for combining purposes. – John Lawler Jan 9 '18 at 4:02

It's arithmetic operators and logical operators. That's the usage in Bjarne Stroustrup's The C++ Programming Language.

Among other things, Stroustrup was recently awarded the Charles Stark Draper Prize by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, "for conceptualizing and developing the C++ programming language.” You won't go wrong in following his choice of words.


Logical operators is in a separate class than mathematics. This is because mathematics borrows many logical operators from the field of Philosophy. There is a recent 18 century subject called Mathematical logic. This seems to be the cause of your confusion because most people deny the subject is literally called Mathematical logic. Math people say logic is logic when they are taught that in school which is incorrect. Aristotelian logic is clearly distinct from math and so is fuzzy logic and modal logic. Computer science clearly uses mathematical logic and not the other kinds. You can have logic without math and math without symbolic logic. The two subjects are related but they are not identical.

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