An arithmetic expression can be an identifier of a numeric elementary item, a numeric literal, such identifiers and literals separated by arithmetic operators or bitwise operators (or both), two arithmetic expressions separated by an arithmetic or bitwise operator, or an arithmetic expression enclosed in parentheses. Any arithmetic expression can be preceded by a unary arithemetic or bitwise operator.

In the following discussion:

- The term "numeric data item" encompasses floating-point data items in addition to fixed-point data items
- The term "numeric literal" encompasses floating-point literals in addition to fixed-point literals

Those identifiers and literals appearing in an arithmetic expression must represent either numeric elementary items or numeric literals on which arithmetic can be performed.