Understanding the Python pow() Function: A Comprehensive Guide

In this tutorial, we will delve into the Python built-in function known as pow(). This function is used to calculate the power of a number and can also find the modulus of the first two arguments.

Basic Usage of pow()

The basic syntax for using pow() is as follows:

    pow(x, y)

This will return x raised to the power y. Here’s an example:

    print(pow(2, 3))  # Output: 8

The Third Argument in pow()

A unique feature of Python’s pow() function is its ability to take a third argument. The syntax looks like this:

    pow(x, y, z)

In this case, it returns (x**y) % z. In other words, it raises x to the power y and then takes the modulus of that result with z. Here’s an example:

    print(pow(10, 2, 5))  # Output: 0

Tips for Using pow()

  • All three arguments must be numbers (either integers or floats).
  • If you use floating point numbers, keep in mind that due to their imprecision you may not get exact results.
  • If you only provide one argument or more than three arguments to pow(), you’ll get a TypeError.
  • The third argument cannot be zero because division by zero raises a ZeroDivisionError.


The Python pow() function is a powerful tool for performing exponentiation and modulus operations. Its ability to handle three arguments sets it apart from the standard exponentiation operator (**), making it a versatile addition to your Python toolkit.

We hope this tutorial has been helpful in understanding how to use the pow() function effectively. Happy coding!

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