Nasty typo in PEP 238 (revised)

David Eppstein eppstein at
Fri Jul 27 00:12:08 EDT 2001

In article <3B60D432.5060109 at>,
 Tom Jenkins <tjenkins at> wrote:

> >>    A. Use x*1.0/y for true division, divmod(x, y)[0] for int
> >>       division.  Especially the latter is best hidden inside a
> >>       function.  You may also write floor(x)/y for true division if
> >>       you are sure that you don't expect complex numbers.
> >>
> > 
> > 
> > Shouldn't this be float(x)/y ?
> > 
> > I still don't like the phrase "true division", it implies a value judgement 
> > that quotients are somehow an inferior thing to want to compute.
> > 
> David,
> I'm not sure.  I thought so to, but decided to try it in the interpreter 
> first (since I never used floor before)

floor converts ints to floats????  This seems exactly backwards from what I 
would expect.  And while it is certainly documented that way in the library 
reference (section 5), it is contradicted by the footnote in section 2 
about using floor and ceil for "well-defined conversions" from float to 
int, as well as the claim in the reference manual that integer-division is 
the same as applying floor to the result of mathematical division.

I have to consider this a big wart.
Especially with the proposed changes to /, I would likely want to write 
code like i = floor(a/b) and j = ceil(c/d) but apparently this is going to 
need added coercions to get an integral type.

Anyway, back to the PEP, I don't think calling floor(x) is a very clear way 
of writing an int-to-float coercion, and it's still a bug because it will 
give you incorrect results if x is a non-integral float.
David Eppstein       UC Irvine Dept. of Information & Computer Science
eppstein at

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