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Copying a list in Python

Operations
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List Operations
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Cookbooks
schedule Jul 1, 2022
Last updated
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There are two main ways to copy a list in Python:

Method copy

The list.copy method can be leveraged to copy a list:

original_list = ['apples', 'bananas', 'pears', 'oranges']
copy_list = original_list.copy()
print(copy_list)
['apples', 'bananas', 'pears', 'oranges']

Slicing

We create a slice from the very start of original_list to the very end (i.e. copying the entire list)

original_list = ['apples', 'bananas', 'pears', 'oranges']
copy_list = original_list[:]
print(copy_list)
['apples', 'bananas', 'pears', 'oranges']

Incorrect way to copy

original_list = ['apples','bananas','pears','oranges']
copy_list = original_list

The above syntax will lead to copy_list and original_list both pointing to the same list. Therefore updating original_list will also mean copy_list is updated automatically which is something we do not want.

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Published by Arthur Yanagisawa
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