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Python loops explained

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The for and while loop in Python

24 May, 2021 ยท 2 min read

Besides the Python data types I've walked through just the other day, loops are an essential part of programming.

Today we'll be looking at loops in Python, and there are two types I'll explain in this article.

  • For loop
  • While loop

Python loops explained

Python for loop

Let me first show you how a basic for loop in Python looks:

for x in y:
    # Do something

Based on this example, you can already see it translates to: For each element X inside of statement Y, Evaluate a code block.

Let's say we have a list of animals and would like to print each animal.

animals = ["cat", "dog", "penguin", "tiger"]
for animal in animals:
    print(animal)

This will result in the following:

cat
dog
penguin
tiger

We can also use the range to loop x amount of times. Let's say we want to make a loop go four times.

for item in range(4):
    print("Happy Birthday")

Wil print out:

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday

Python while loop

Besides the for loop, there is also the option to loop while a specific condition is met.

The basics for a while loop are like this:

while x == True:
    # Do something

With that, we say while X is true, you must keep executing this code block. If we used the code above, we would build an infinite loop.

So let's make a basic while loop and break it after the first run so it only executes once

foo = True
while foo == True:
    print("Foo is true")
    foo = False

print("Foo is false now!")

And this code block will return the following:

Foo is true
Foo is false now!

You've seen the range option, but we could also use a while loop.

number = 2

while number < 5:
    print("Still smaller")
    number = number + 1

This gives us:

Still smaller
Still smaller
Still smaller

And there, you have the basics of two versions to loop code blocks in Python.

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