# Re: Power operator, why does -2**3 throws?

If tc39 wanted to implement it one way or the other, they would indeed use precedence. The problem is that the precedence of unary '-' vs binary '**' is ambiguous *between different people's heads* -- not just a little, but a lot. So whichever precedence you pick, some people will be very surprised. It will be *obviously* wrong to some people, and obviously correct to others.
```
No matter how good your mechanism is, it can't fix a policy problem.```
```
On 10/18/2016 01:05 AM, medikoo wrote:
```
```There are many other cases when with no parens involved, people have
different expectations on the outcome.
If expression looks ambigous the actual result always depends on operators
precedence, it's how language worked for years, and I don't remember any big
problems due to that.

Jordan Harband wrote
```
```It's quite simple (as has already been stated): some people expect `-x **
y` to be `-(x ** y)`. Some expect it to be `(-x) ** y`.

The early SyntaxError ensures that nobody is confused - programmers will

Avoiding a potential footgun for the next 50 years, at the insignificant
cost of adding two characters so that it parses seems like a very cheap
price to pay.

On Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 12:20 AM, medikoo &lt;
medikoo+mozilla.org@
&gt;
wrote:

```
```I must say throwing here, instead of relying on math dictated operators
It's very surprising to those well experienced with the language, and
totally inconsistent with how operators worked so far (there is no
previous
case where one will throw for similar reason).

Also argument that it's inconsistent with Math.pow(-2, 2), is total miss
in
my eyes.
I believe to most programmers `Math.pow(-2, 2)`, translates to
`(-2)**(2)`
and not to `-2**2`,
same as `Math.pow(a ? b : c, 2)` intuitively translates to `(a ? b :
c)**(2)` and not to `a ? b : c**2`

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