After you declare a name for some data, the next thing is usually to do some **operation** with the data. Microsoft classifies all Visual Basic operators as:

- Arithmetic Operators
- Comparison Operators
- Concatenation Operators

**Arithmetic operations** include the familiar "**+**", "*****", and "**/**" but also including interesting variations such as the modulus (**Mod**) and integer division "**\**" and a nice collection of operations that get down to single bits (1's and 0's), the bitwise **And**, *Or*, and bit shift ("*>>*" and "*<<*"). One key concept to remember is that Visual Basic will apply these operators in a default sequence if you don't add parenthesis to group things. The statement ...

```
i = 4 + 6 * 7
```

... results in a value of 46 in the variable i. But ...

```
i = (4 + 6) * 7
```

... results in a value of 70 in i.

The purpose of a **comparison operator** is to produce a **Boolean** true or false value that can be used somewhere else in your program, usually in something like an **If** block or a program loop.

There are six comparison operators:

**=**(Equality)**<>**(Inequality)**<**(Less than)**>**(Greater than)**<=**(Less than or equal to)**>=**(Greater than or equal to)

It's worth knowing that the **Boolean** value that is a result of a comparison operation is just **True** or **False**. It's not a simple number like it used to be in VB6. Microsoft has this to say about the Boolean data type:

*When numeric data types are converted to Boolean values, 0 becomes False and all other values become True. When Boolean values are converted to numeric types, False becomes 0 and True becomes -1.*

Some old VB6 programs use the values 0 and -1 instead of True and False. Never do that in VB.NET.

Microsoft puts the *logical operators*, And, Or, AndAlso, OrElse, Xor and the Not operator in their own category because they only operate on Boolean variables. If you ever get confused about how these work, a Practical Guide to Logical Expressions is available on this site here.

There are just two **concatenation operators**, "**+**" and "**&**", which both do *almost* the same thing: join two strings into one. "**+**" is also an arithmetic operator so if you only want to concatenate strings, use "**&**". Here's an example:

```
Dim myString As String =
"This" &
" is " &
" a " &
" String."
```

On the next page, we use Boolean variables to write **conditional statements**. They're really the fundamental trick that gives computers their power.