FAQ: Booleans and Comparison Operators - Ternary Operator

This community-built FAQ covers the “Ternary Operator” exercise from the lesson “Booleans and Comparison Operators”.

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Hi the correct answer as far as I can see for this question is:

function ternaryCheckout($items)
$items <= 12 ? “express lane” : “regular lane”;

But the course is throwing up the error:

Your function should return a string. We tested your function and expected a string return value but instead it returned a value of type NULL

What am I doing wrong here? is it an issue with my syntax? Or a bug with the course itself?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Hey James, welcome to the forums.

The error is right, right now your function is not returning anything.

Consider the following:

function sayHello() {

echo sayHello();

As it is, “Hello” wouldn’t be printed. Because it’s not being returned from inside the function.

Sure, you could write it like this:

function sayHello() {
  echo "Hello";


But what we really want is a return statement, in this case.

Thank you. My confusion arose from the fact hat I thought the “return” was included in the ternary operator.