What are List Comprehensions?

02/07/2024 0 By indiafreenotes

List Comprehensions are a concise way to create lists in Python. They provide a syntactically compact and readable way to generate lists from existing iterables, incorporating loops and conditional logic within a single line of code. List comprehensions are particularly useful for creating new lists by applying an expression to each item in a sequence, and optionally filtering elements based on a condition.


The basic syntax of a list comprehension is:

[expression for item in iterable if condition]

  • expression: The expression to evaluate and add to the new list.
  • item: The variable that takes the value of the current element in the iterable.
  • iterable: The collection or sequence being iterated over.
  • condition (optional): A filter that only includes items in the new list if the condition is True.


  1. Basic List Comprehension: This example generates a list of squares of numbers from 0 to 9.

squares = [x**2 for x in range(10)]

print(squares)  # Output: [0, 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81]

  1. With Condition: This example creates a list of even numbers from 0 to 9.

evens = [x for x in range(10) if x % 2 == 0]

print(evens)  # Output: [0, 2, 4, 6, 8]

  1. Nested Loops: List comprehensions can also include nested loops. This example generates a list of pairs (tuples) from two lists.

pairs = [(x, y) for x in range(3) for y in range(3)]

print(pairs)  # Output: [(0, 0), (0, 1), (0, 2), (1, 0), (1, 1), (1, 2), (2, 0), (2, 1), (2, 2)]

  1. Complex Expressions: This example creates a list of strings indicating whether numbers from 0 to 9 are even or odd.

parity = [‘evenif x % 2 == 0 elseoddfor x in range(10)]

print(parity)  # Output: [‘even’, ‘odd’, ‘even’, ‘odd’, ‘even’, ‘odd’, ‘even’, ‘odd’, ‘even’, ‘odd’]


  • Conciseness:

List comprehensions allow for writing more concise and readable code compared to traditional loop-based list creation.

  • Readability:

For those familiar with the syntax, list comprehensions can be more readable and expressive.

  • Performance:

In many cases, list comprehensions can be faster than equivalent loops because they are optimized internally by Python.

Best Practices

  • Readability:

While list comprehensions can make code shorter, they should not be used for very complex logic as they may reduce readability. For complex operations, traditional loops or helper functions might be more appropriate.

  • Use with care:

Overusing list comprehensions can lead to less maintainable code, so it’s important to balance conciseness with clarity.