How to use ternary operator in Python

Mar 07, 2024#python

The ternary operator is a programming construct found in several programming languages that provides a concise way to express an if-else statement in a single line. Its popularity stems from its ability to simplify code and improve readability, especially in cases where the if-else logic is straightforward.

The majority of languages, like C++, Java, JavaScript, use the following syntax:

condition ? expression_if_true : expression_if_false

Python utilizes a conditional expression structure instead:

expression_if_true if condition else expression_if_false

While it achieves the same functionality, the order of the elements differs. Python’s structure resembles natural language (if condition is true then expression_if_true else expression_if_false), potentially enhancing readability, especially for those new to programming.

Here’s a simple example:

x = 5
result = "Even" if x % 2 == 0 else "Odd"

In this example, the value of result will be “Even” if the condition x % 2 == 0 is true, and “Odd” otherwise.

While nesting conditional expressions in Python is possible, it’s generally discouraged due to potential readability issues. In such cases, using if-else statements is often preferred for clarity.