May 22nd 2021 | 2 Minutes Read

Truthy and Falsy Values Explained

JavaScript

Truthy and Falsy Values Explained

A large part of using JavaScript is dealing with booleans. This might be in conditional rendering or an if statement. But, regardless booleans are everywhere.

For this reason, it's important that we understand that every value we create in JavaScript evaluates to either true or false. Values are known to either be truthy (evaluate to true) or falsy (evaluate to false).

In this post, let's take a look at both of them and learn a bit more about them.

Truthy Values

By default, every value in JavaScript is truthy. The only time it won't be truthy is if it's one of the values on the falsy value list. (We'll come to this in a second).

This means that any time we create a value, whether it be a function, an object or a variable declaration it will evaluate to true.

This is how we can run if statements to check if a variable is present or not:

const helloWorld = 'hello';

if (helloWorld) {
    console.log(helloWorld);
}

Because helloWorld has a value it is truthy and will satisfy the if condition and run the code block.

Here is an example of values that can be considered to be truthy.

List of Truthy Values

Falsy Values

Falsy values are the opposite of truthy values. That means is if we define a value using one of these falsy values it will evaluate to false.

Unlike truthy values, only certain values are falsy. Here is a complete list of them:

List of Falsy Values

Read more about [[IsHTMLDDA]]

If we were to use one of these in the if statement from before it wouldn't run the code block.

const helloWorld = '';

if (helloWorld) {
    console.log(helloWorld);
}

Because helloWorld is now an empty string (falsy) it won't satisfy the if statement condition and will skip the code block.

Changing Between Truthy and Falsy

Of course, values can switch between being truthy and falsy. For example, if we had a form on our website, by default it would be empty (falsy). But, as soon as we started typing in it, it wouldn't be an empty string anymore so therefore would become truthy.

There are many examples of where this could happen such as a counter starting at 0 (falsy) and then getting incremented (truthy).

Summary

Over time dealing with truthy and falsy values become second nature. But, at first, it can through you into a spin where you can't figure out why a variable is evaluating to false.

You don't need to worry about memorising all of them to start with, the more you practise, the more you learn them.

So, have you ever fallen victim to a variable being falsy when you thought it should be truthy? If so share your story with me over on Twitter.

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