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# The Comparison Operators

The comparison operators (also called relational operators) are used to determine which of two values appears first in a given order. Like the equality and inequality operators, the comparison operators return one of the Boolean values `true` or `false` indicating whether the relationship described in the comparison is accurate (`true`) or inaccurate (`false`).

Comparison operators work only with strings and numbers. When the two operands of a comparison operator are numbers, the comparison is performed mathematically: 5 < 10 is `true`, -3 < -6 is `false`, and so on. When the two operands of a comparison operator are strings, the comparison is performed according to character code points, as shown in Appendix B. See Section 4.6.2 in Chapter 4 for details on string comparisons.

The interpreter will attempt to convert any nonstring or nonnumeric data value used in a comparison operation to the string or number type. We’ll consider the effect of datatype conversions on comparison operations after we discuss the comparison operators themselves.

## The Less-Than Operator

The less-than operator takes the general form:

```                  `operand1`
<
`operand2````

If the operands are numeric, the less-than operator returns the Boolean `true` if `operand1` is mathematically smaller than `operand2`:

```5 < 6        // true
5 < 5        // false; they are equal, but 5 is not less than 5
-3 < -6      // false; -3 is larger than -6
-6 < -3      // true;  -6 is smaller than -3```

If the operands are strings, the less-than operator returns `true` if ...

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