When coding, we always look for shortcuts everywhere or try to make things concise and effective. In PHP and other programming languages, the ternary operator is a concise way to write conditional statements that improve code readability and effectiveness.

You might have read about the "if-else" conditional statement of PHP. The PHP ternary operator is another way to implement this concept with a different technique. Here, three different operations will work in conjunction to make a single operator. In this tutorial, you will learn about the conditional operator.

What Is the Ternary Operator in PHP?

Ternary operators can be defined as a conditional operator that is reasonable for cutting the lines of codes in your program while accomplishing comparisons as well as conditionals. This is treated as an alternative method of implementing if-else or even nested if-else statements. This conditional statement takes its execution from left to right. Using this ternary operator is not only an efficient solution but the best case with a time-saving approach. It returns a warning while encountering any void value in its conditions.

The syntax of using the conditional operator in PHP is:


(Conditional statement) ? (Statement_1) : (Statement_2);


  1. Condition statement: This is a valid PHP expression that will be evaluated in order to return a Boolean value.
  2. Statement_1: This will be the statement that will be executed when the conditional results will return true or be in a true state.
  3. Statement_2: This will be the statement that will be executed when the conditional results will return true or be in a false state.



$result = 62;

echo ($result >= 40) ? "Passed" : " Failed";




When to Use Ternary Operator

You can use the ternary operator when there is a need to simplify if-else statements or if the programmer wants to make efficient code out of a complex program structure. Moreover, conditional statements are also used while assigning post data or validate forms within an application.

Advantages of Ternary Operator

  • The code will be short in size as compared to the IF statement.
  • Readability increases with the use of conditional statements.
  • The use of this ternary operator makes the code simpler.

Ternary Shorthand

Shorthand can also be used with this ternary operator by leaving out the ternary operator's central portion. This shorthand operator is also known as Elvis operator, which is written as:



The full syntax can be written:


expression1 ?: expression2


$check = isset($value) && !empty($value) ?: 'default';

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