Understanding the Python pow() Function: A Comprehensive Guide

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

Python pow() Function Syntax

The syntax for using the pow() function in Python is as follows:

pow(x, y[, z])


  • x and y are required parameters. The function returns x to the power y.
  • z is an optional parameter. If provided, it returns x to the power y modulo z.

A Simple Example of Using pow()

To understand how this works, let’s look at a simple example:

print(pow(3, 4)) # Output: 81

This code calculates 3 raised to the power 4 (i.e., 3*3*3*3), which equals 81.

Using pow() with Three Arguments

If you provide three arguments (x,y,z) to the pow() function, it calculates (x**y) % z. Here’s an example:

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

This code calculates (10 squared) modulo 5. So that’s ((10*10)%5), which equals zero.

Tips for Proper Usage

  • The ‘x’ and ‘y’ parameters must be of numeric types. These could be integer, float, or complex.
  • If the third argument ‘z’ is present, ‘x’ cannot be a complex number.
  • The pow() function can also be used with negative numbers.


The Python pow() function is a powerful tool for performing exponentiation operations in your code. Whether you’re using two arguments to simply raise one number to the power of another, or three arguments to perform more complex calculations involving modulus, it’s a versatile function that can help streamline your code.

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