Loops are used when same task needs to be executed multiple number of times.
Example, printing mathematical table of a number, printing a message 10 times, sending multiple requests to an end point, creating a menu based application which continues till the user wants etc.
Python provides following loop constructs:
1. while loop
This loop consists of a condition and a set of statements. Set of statements are executed repeatedly till the condition remains
True or the condition evaluates to
There may be a single condition or multiple conditions separated by
or operators. Statements that are inside loop block are called Loop body.
All statements that are part of Loop body are indented, that is, they are at least one space more indented than loop condition and are at the same indentation level.
while condition: # statement one # statement two # statement three # more statements
count = 0 # loop till count < 5 while count < 5: # print count value print('Count is ' + str(count)) # increment count count = count + 1
Condition of loop is count < 5 which will remain
True till count is less than 5. Loop body consists of 2 statements which are at same indentation level.
Output of the above loop will be
Count is 0
Count is 1
Count is 2
Count is 3
Count is 4
2. for loop
This loop can also be used to iterate till a condition remains
True but its main use lies in its ability to iterate over data structures such as list, tuple, dictionary or a string where it provides access to each item in the data structure and keeps on iterating till all the items are covered.
for loop can be used in the following two scenarios.
Iterate using an index
Many times you want to iterate for a definite number of times using a counter or an index variable. Example, from 1 to 10. Using
for loop this can be done as
for index in range(5): # prints 0 to 4 print(index)
index is a user defined variable and
range() is an in-built method which returns a range of numbers starting from 0 to 1 less than the argument passed to it.
range(5) returns numbers from 0 to 4.
Iterate over a data structure
Suppose there is a list of items and you want to iterate it over that list using a
for loop. Code will be
# create a list fruits = ['papaya', 'orange', 'mango', 'banana'] for fruit in fruits: print(fruit)
Output of above code will be
for loop syntax
Looking at both the above usages of
for loop, its syntax can be generalized as below:
for <variable name> in <data structure or limit>: # statement one # statement two # other statements
in keyword and a colon(:) at the end. Also, all the statements of
for loop are indented to denote that they belong to same block.
Loop with String
for loop can be used to iterate over a python string where element in each iteration will be a character. Example,
str = 'cat' for char in str: print(char)
Else with for loop
Sometimes you want some code to be executed just after the loop ends or when there are no items left to be iterated.
For such cases, a for loop may be followed by an else block written using
else statement. This block is optional. Example,
for x in 'cat': print(x) else: print('End of characters')
End of characters
A loop inside another loop is called nested loop. A nested loop, also called inner loop is executed for each iteration of the outer loop just like any other statement written in outer loop.
Nested loop are mostly used for sorting structures where you need to compare each element with every other element or where there are two dimensional structures such as a matrix of numbers.
Example of a nested loop is
for x in range(3): for y in range(2): print('Outer variable = %d, Inner variable = %d' %(x,y))
Outer variable = 0, Inner variable = 0
Outer variable = 0, Inner variable = 1
Outer variable = 1, Inner variable = 0
Outer variable = 1, Inner variable = 1
Outer variable = 2, Inner variable = 0
Outer variable = 2, Inner variable = 1
Note that inner loop is completely executed for each iteration of outer loop, and
Total inner loop iterations = Outer loop iterations * Inner loop iterations per outer loop iteration
If a for loop is written, it can not be empty, that is it should have at least one statement else there will be an error.
But if you want an empty for loop, may be for testing purpose, then write a
passstatement inside the empty loop as shown below.
for x in range(3): pass
This loop will do nothing.
If you write
pass in a loop that has other statements as well, then
pass is completely ignored and the loop executes normally.