FAQ: Functions - Helper Functions


This community-built FAQ covers the “Helper Functions” exercise from the lesson “Functions”.

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This exercise can be found in the following Codecademy content:

Web Development

Introduction To JavaScript

FAQs on the exercise Helper Functions

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Hello, I’m currently learning about “helper functions” in “introduction to javascript” here and I 'm a bit confused.

In the following code, the value of 15 is first passed as an argument for the function of getFahrenheit as “celsius” but what I don’t understand is how it’s then again used as an argument for multiplyByNineFifths. How is there a relationship between that function and 15? I don’t understand how they connect.

The lesson attempts to explain it, but I still don’t get it. Here is the code along with it’s explanation


function multiplyByNineFifths(number) {
return number * (9/5);

function getFahrenheit(celsius) {
return multiplyByNineFifths(celsius) + 32;

getFahrenheit(15); // Returns 59


  • getFahrenheit() is called and 15 is passed as an argument.
  • The code block inside of getFahrenheit() calls multiplyByNineFifths() and passes 15 as an argument.
  • multiplyByNineFifths() takes the argument of 15 for the number parameter.
  • The code block inside of multiplyByNineFifths() function multiplies 15 by (9/5) , which evaluates to 27 .
  • 27 is returned back to the function call in getFahrenheit() .
  • getFahrenheit() continues to execute. It adds 32 to 27 , which evaluates to 59 .
  • Finally, 59 is returned back to the function call getFahrenheit(15) .


the lesson does indeed explain this:

The code block inside of getFahrenheit() calls multiplyByNineFifths() and passes 15 as an argument.

the value 15 is passed as argument to celsius parameter, then the celcius parameter (which now has a value of 15) is passed as argument to the parameter of multiplyByNineFifths function


Yeah i didn’t quite get it too, i think the confussion is because we don’t know what ‘number’ means at all, i mean, could i use a word aside ‘number’ and the function will take it anyway, right? Because when it says ‘number’ but in the next function there isn’t a ‘number’, then there’s the confussion.

Anyway, with the exercise i understood it, it’s simple.

function numSquared(number) {
    return Math.pow(number, 2);

In the above function, number is an arbitrarily chosen name. We could use any variable we wish, but hopefully it has some meaning congruent with the function’s purpose. n or x are just as valid. dog or banana would not make much sense, though, right?

var number = 13;

The above has arbitrarily defined a variable with name, number with a preset value. The call expression argument is not arbitrary since number must exist.

Parameters (formal parameters) define local variables so the variable doesn’t have to exist when the function is defined. Arguments on the other hand, when they are a variable the variable must be defined or an error with be thrown.


Thank you, that was helpful in understanding this.