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What Is The Difference Between AND And OR In Python?

What Is The Difference Between AND And OR In Python?

What is the difference between using the logical operators and and or in Python?

When using the and logical operator in Python all conditions in the statement need to be True for the entire expression to evaluate to True. If one condition evaluates to False then the entire expression evaluates to False.

When using the or logical operator only one condition in the entire expression needs to evaluate to True for the entire expression to evaluate to True. If all conditions are False then the expression evaluates to False.

Here is a couple of simple examples in the Python REPL:

>>> e = 10
>>> f = 100
>>> e > 0 and f > 0
True
>>> e < 0 and f > 0
False
>>> e < 0 or f > 0
True
>>> e < 0 or f < 0
False

As you can see from the basic examples above the first expression with e > 0 and f > 0 both evaluate to True and because the and operator is used if all conditions are True then the result is True.

For the second expression with e < 0 and f > 0 the first condition is False and even though the second condition is True because all conditions are not True the result is False.

With the third expression e < 0 or f > 0 only the second condition is True and as only one condition needs to be True then the result of the expression is True.

Finally, with the last expression e < 0 or f < 0 where all conditions are False this produces a False result as no conditions evaluate to True.

Can You Use && For and?

Python does not recognise the syntax && which is the equivalent of and in other programming languages such as Javascript.

If you do type the syntax && in a statement you will get a SyntaxError, as demonstrated below:

>>> e > 0 && f < 0
  File "<stdin>", line 1
    e > 0 && f < 0
           ^
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

With the above error, the REPL terminal is showing you where the error is and the fact it’s invalid syntax.

A Shortcut Way To Use and

If typing 3 characters each time you want to do and is too tedious for you, then there is 1 mathematical character you could use which is known as the equivalent of and in mathematics – the humble multiplication symbol *.

Another way of writing the same expression instead of using and is to replace the operator with the mathematical symbol for multiplication in Python *.

In mathematics the multiplication operator works in the same manner as the logical operator and.

Why?

A False value in computer languages can numerically be represented as the number 0. What happens when you multiply the number 0 to any other number?

You still get 0.

Therefore, the principle behind the multiplication of numbers similarly applies to and conditions as each condition needs to evaluate to a number, any number, bar 0.

Otherwise, if there’s one condition in the expression statement that evaluates to 0 then every multiplication applied will result in 0.

And 0 evaluates to False as a boolean data type.

Using the same example above I’ve replaced the logical operator with the multiplication symbol:

>>> e = 1
>>> f = -1
>>> (e > 0) * (f < 0)
1
>>> (e < 0) * (f < 0)
0

As you can see from the above code wrapping the conditions in parentheses helps to properly evaluate the expression. However, now the results instead are not boolean but rather numeric: either 1 or 0.

The principle is still the same.

Why Not Use || For or?

Similar to the double ampersand for and in Python other languages use || (double pipes) for Python’s equivalent of or.

Using the syntax || for or in an expression will produce a SyntaxError as demonstrated in the following code:

>>> e = 10
>>> f = 100
>>> e > 0 || f < 0
  File "<stdin>", line 1
    e > 0 || f < 0
           ^
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

A Shortcut Way Of Using or

If writing 2 characters is too much there is a way of using the principle of or by typing just one character: the humble addition symbol +.

Similar to how the logical operator and can be replaced with the multiplication symbol so too can the logical operator or be replaced with the mathematical symbol for addition +.

How does this addition principle work?

As False values are represented numerically as the number zero, True values are represented numerically as 1, but any number not 0 is deemed to be True.

Therefore, if all conditions in your expression are False when adding each condition the sum of zero would also be zero. Whereas if there was just one True condition

Here’s an example using the same example above with the or operator replaced with the + operator:

>>> e = 10
>>> f = 100
>>> (e > 0) + (f < 0)
1
>>> (e < 0) + (f < 0)
0

Summary

Use the logical operator and when all conditions in your expression need to be satisfied. Use the or logical operator when only one condition in your expression need to be satisfied.

Instead of using the operators and and or you can use the mathematical equivalents * and + respectively.

Finally, Python does not permit the syntax equivalent of and with && as other languages do. Also, you cannot use || for or as you will also get a SyntaxError.