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Python List | copy method

schedule Aug 12, 2023
Last updated
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Python
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Python's list.copy() method returns a copy of a list.

Parameters

No parameters.

Return value

Returns a copy of the original list. Note that the original list is not modified.

Examples

Basic usage

To return a copy of the list fruits:

fruits = ['apple', 'pear', 'orange']
fruits_copy = fruits.copy()
print(fruits)
print(fruits_copy)
['apple', 'pear', 'orange']
['apple', 'pear', 'orange']

Copying using the = operator

It is also possible to copy a list using the = operator. However, with this method if you modify one of the lists the other is also automatically modified which can pose problems:

old_fruits = ['apple', 'pear', 'orange']
new_fruits = old_fruits
# Adding item grape to new_fruits
new_fruits.append('grape')
print("old_fruits =", old_fruits)
print("new_fruits =", new_fruits)
old_fruits = ['apple', 'pear', 'orange', 'grape']
new_fruits = ['apple', 'pear', 'orange', 'grape']

Note that 'grape' is automatically added to old_fruits despite the fact we only added 'grape' to new_fruits. Therefore, using the = operator to copy lists is not recommended.

robocat
Published by Isshin Inada
Edited by 0 others
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