Values, Types, Variable Names, and Keywords

Read these examples of using the 'print' and 'type' functions. You can also try to use them in the command line.

value is one of the basic things a program works with, like a letter or a number.

These values belong to different types2 is an integer, and 'Hello, World!' is a string, so-called because it contains a "string" of letters. You (and the interpreter) can identify strings because they are enclosed in quotation marks.

If you are not sure what type a value has, the interpreter can tell you.

>>> type('Hello, World!')
<type 'str'>
>>> type(17)
<type 'int'>

Not surprisingly, strings belong to the type str and integers belong to the type int. Less obviously, numbers with a decimal point belong to a type called float, because these numbers are represented in a format called floating-point.

>>> type(3.2)
<type 'float'>

What about values like '17' and '3.2'? They look like numbers, but they are in quotation marks like strings.

>>> type('17')
<type 'str'>
>>> type('3.2')
<type 'str'>

They're strings.

When you type a large integer, you might be tempted to use commas between groups of three digits, as in 1,000,000. This is not a legal integer in Python, but it is legal:

>>> 1,000,000
(1, 0, 0)

Well, that's not what we expected at all! Python interprets 1,000,000 as a comma-separated sequence of integers. This is the first example we have seen of a semantic error: the code runs without producing an error message, but it doesn't do the "right" thing.

Source: Allen B. Downey,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.