In Python, you use the double slash `//`

operator to perform floor division. This `//`

operator divides the first number by the second number and rounds the result down to the nearest integer (or whole number).

In this article, I will show you how to use the `//`

operator and compare it to regular division so you can see how it works.

It doesn’t end there, though – you will also learn about a Python math method that is synonymous with the double slash `//`

operator.

## What We’ll Cover

## The Basic Syntax of the `//`

Operator

To use the double slash `//`

operator, you do things almost like in regular division. The only difference is that instead of a single slash `/`

, you use double slash `//`

:

```
firstNum // secondNum
```

## Examples of Floor Division

In the example below, the floor division of 12 by 5 resulted in 2:

```
num1 = 12
num2 = 5
num3 = num1 // num2 print("floor division of", num1, "by", num2, "=", num3)
# Output: floor division of 12 by 5 = 2
```

Whereas, the regular division of 12 by 5 would be equal to 2.4. That is, 2 remainder 4:

```
num2 = 5
num3 = num1 / num2 print("normal division of", num1, "by", num2, "=", num3)
# Output: normal division of 12 by 5 = 2.4
```

This shows you that the `//`

operator rounds down the result of the division of two numbers to the nearest whole number.

Even if the decimal point is 9, the `//`

operator would still round the result down to the nearest whole number.

```
num1 = 29 num2 = 10 num3 = num1 / num2
num4 = num1 // num2 print("normal division of", num1, "by", num2, "=", num3)
print("but floor division of", num1, "by", num2, "=", num4) """
Output:
normal division of 29 by 10 = 2.9
but floor division of 29 by 10 = 2 """
```

And if you perform floor division with a negative number, the result would still be rounded down.

To prepare your mind for the result, rounding down a negative number means going away from 0. So, -12 divided by 5 results in -3. Don’t get confused – even though at first glance it seems like the nubmer is getting “bigger”, it’s actually getting smaller (further from zero/a larger negative number).

```
num1 = -12
num2 = 5
num3 = num1 // num2 print("floor division of", num1, "by", num2, "=", num3) # floor division of -12 by 5 = -3
```

## The Double Slash `//`

Operator Works Like `math.floor()`

In Python, `math.floor()`

rounds down a number to the nearest integer, just like the double slash `//`

operator does.

So, `math.floor()`

is an alternative to the `//`

operator because they do the same thing behind the scenes.

Here’s an example:

```
import math num1 = 12
num2 = 5
num3 = num1 // num2
num4 = math.floor(num1 / num2) print("floor division of", num1, "by", num2, "=", num3)
print("math.floor of", num1, "divided by", num2, "=", num4) """
Output:
floor division of 12 by 5 = 2
math.floor of 12 divided by 5 = 2 """
```

You can see that `math.floor()`

does the same thing as the `//`

operator.

## How the Double Slash `//`

Operator Works Behind the Scenes

When you use the `//`

operator to divide two numbers, the method that gets called behind the scenes is the `__floordiv__()`

.

You can also use this `__floordiv__()`

method directly in place of the `//`

operator:

```
num1 = 12
num2 = 5
num3 = num1 // num2
num4 = num1.__floordiv__(num2) print("floor division of", num1, "by", num2, "=", num3)
print("using the floordiv method gets us the same value of", num4) """
Output:
floor division of 12 by 5 = 2
using the floordiv method gets us the same value of 2 """
```

## Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned how you can use the double slash `//`

operator and how it works behind the scenes.

In addition, you learned about two alternatives of the `//`

operator – `math.floor()`

and the `__floordiv__()`

method.

Don’t be confused about which to use. The three ways you can perform floor division work the same way. But I would advise you to use the double slash `//`

operator because you get to type less with it.

Thank you for reading.