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Python For Loops


Python For Loops

A for loop is used for iterating over a sequence (that is either a list, a tuple, a dictionary, a set, or a string).

This is less like the for keyword in other programming language, and works more like an iterator method as found in other object-orientated programming languages.

With the for loop we can execute a set of statements, once for each item in a list, tuple, set etc.

Example

Print each fruit in a fruit list:

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
for x in fruits:
  print(x)
Run example »

The for loop does not require an indexing variable to set beforehand.


Looping Through a String

Even strings are iterable objects, they contain a sequence of characters:

Example

Loop through the letters in the word "banana":

for x in "banana":
  print(x)
Run example »

The break Statement

With the break statement we can stop the loop before it has looped through all the items:

Example

Exit the loop when x is "banana":

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
for x in fruits:
  print(x)
  if x == "banana":
    break
Run example »

Example

Exit the loop when x is "banana", but this time the break comes before the print:

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
for x in fruits:
  if x == "banana":
    break
  print(x)
Run example »


The continue Statement

With the continue statement we can stop the current iteration of the loop, and continue with the next:

Example

Do not print banana:

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
for x in fruits:
  if x == "banana":
    continue
  print(x)
Run example »

The range() Function

To loop through a set of code a specified number of times, we can use the range() function,

The range() function returns a sequence of numbers, starting from 0 by default, and increments by 1 (by default), and ends at a specified number.

Example

Using the range() function:

for x in range(6):
  print(x)
Run example »

Note that range(6) is not the values of 0 to 6, but the values 0 to 5.

The range() function defaults to 0 as a starting value, however it is possible to specify the starting value by adding a parameter: range(2, 6), which means values from 2 to 6 (but not including 6):

Example

Using the start parameter:

for x in range(2, 6):
  print(x)
Run example »

The range() function defaults to increment the sequence by 1, however it is possible to specify the increment value by adding a third parameter: range(2, 30, 3):

Example

Increment the sequence with 3 (default is 1):

for x in range(2, 30, 3):
  print(x)
Run example »

Else in For Loop

The else keyword in a for loop specifies a block of code to be executed when the loop is finished:

Example

Print all numbers from 0 to 5, and print a message when the loop has ended:

for x in range(6):
  print(x)
else:
  print("Finally finished!")
Run example »

Nested Loops

A nested loop is a loop inside a loop.

The "inner loop" will be executed one time for each iteration of the "outer loop":

Example

Print each adjective for every fruit:

adj = ["red", "big", "tasty"]
fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]

for x in adj:
  for y in fruits:
    print(x, y)
Run example »

Recursion

Python also accepts function recursion, which means a defined function can call itself.

Recursion is a common mathematical and programming concept. It means that a function calls itself. This has the benefit of meaning that you can loop through data to reach a result.

The developer should be very careful with recursion as it can be quite easy to slip into writing a function which never terminates, or one that uses excess amounts of memory or processor power. However, when written correctly recursion can be a very efficient and mathematically-elegant approach to programming.

In this example, tri_recursion() is a function that we have defined to call itself ("recurse"). We use the k variable as the data, which decrements (-1) every time we recurse. The recursion ends when the condition is not greater than 0 (i.e. when it is 0).

To a new developer it can take some time to work out how exactly this works, best way to find out is by testing and modifying it.

Example

Recursion Example

def tri_recursion(k):
  if(k>0):
    result = k+tri_recursion(k-1)
    print(result)
  else:
    result = 0
  return result

print("\n\nRecursion Example Results")
tri_recursion(6)
Run example »

Test Yourself With Exercises

Exercise:

Loop through the items in the fruits list.

fruits = ["apple", 
"banana", "cherry"] x fruits print(x)

Start the Exercise