Difference Between List and Tuple in Python
Updated on 05th Dec, 23 9.1K Views

In this blog, we will dig deeper into the topic and understand the difference between a list and a tuple.

Table of Contents

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What is a List?

In Python, a list is a mutable data structure used to store an ordered collection of items. It is denoted by square brackets [ ] and allows elements of different data types. Key features of lists include:

  • Mutability: Lists can be modified by adding, removing, or modifying elements after creation.
  • Order preservation: Elements in a list are stored in the same sequence they were added, allowing for indexing and preserving the order of data.
  • Indexing: Each element in a list can be accessed using its position, starting from index 0.
  • Versatility: Different data kinds, including texts, numbers, and even other lists, can be stored in lists as elements.
  • Extensive methods: Python provides built-in methods like append(), insert(), and remove() to manipulate lists efficiently.
  • Slicing: Lists support slicing, allowing you to extract a subset of elements based on specified indices.
  • Iteration: Lists can be easily traversed using loops, enabling operations on each element or the entire list.

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Example of List

Here is a code for your reference, following with its explanation:

fruits = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange']
print(fruits)
fruits.append('grape')
print(fruits)
fruits.remove('banana')
print(fruits)
print(len(fruits))

In this example, we have a list of fruits that initially consist of three elements: ‘apple’, ‘banana’, and ‘orange’. To show the list contents, we utilize the print() method.

The append() function is then used to attach the string ‘grape’ to the list of fruits. This adds ‘grape’ as a new element to the list’s conclusion.

Then, using the remove() function, we delete the entry ‘banana’ from the list. This eliminates the word ‘banana’ from the list, leaving just ‘apple’, ‘orange’, and ‘grape’.

Finally, we use the len() method to calculate the length of the fruit list, yielding the result 3.

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What is a Tuple?

In Python, a tuple is an immutable data structure used to store an ordered collection of elements. It is denoted by parentheses ( ) and can hold elements of different data types, similar to lists. The key features of tuples include:

  • Immutability: Tuples cannot be modified once created, meaning that the elements within a tuple cannot be added, removed, or modified.
  • Order Preservation: Similar to lists, tuples preserve the order of elements, allowing for indexing and maintaining the sequence of data.
  • Indexing: Elements within a tuple can be accessed using their positions, starting from index 0.
  • Versatility: Tuples can contain elements of various data types, making them suitable for grouping related data.
  • Data Integrity: As tuples are immutable, the integrity of data stored in a tuple is guaranteed. It ensures that the elements within a tuple remain unchanged throughout the program.
  • Function Return Values: Tuples are commonly used to return multiple values from a function, where each value corresponds to an element within the tuple.
  • Memory efficiency: Tuples are generally more memory-efficient compared to lists, making them a preferred choice when the data does not need to be modified.

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Example of Tuple

Here is a code for your reference, along with its explanation:

person = ('John', 25, 'USA')
print(person)
name, age, country = person
print("Name:", name)
print("Age:", age)
print("Country:", country)

In this example, we have a tuple called person containing three elements: ‘John’, 25, and ‘USA’. We use the print() function to display the contents of the tuple.

Next, we unpack the elements of the tuple into individual variables name, age, and country. This allows us to access each element of the tuple separately.

Finally, we use the individual variables to print the name, age, and country of the person.

Tuples in Python are immutable, meaning their elements cannot be modified once defined. They are often used to represent collections of related data that should remain unchanged. In this example, the tuple person holds information about a person, and we can access its elements using unpacking.

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Difference Between List and Tuple

Lists and tuples are two distinct data structures in Python, each with its own unique characteristics and use cases. The primary difference between them lies in their mutability. A list is mutable, meaning its elements can be modified, added, or removed after creation. On the other hand, a tuple is immutable, and once created, its elements cannot be changed. This fundamental distinction impacts their behavior and suitability for various programming scenarios.

List vs Tuple
BasisListTuple
MutabilityMutableImmutable
Modification Elements can be changed, added, or deleted.Elements cannot be changed, added, or deleted.
Use CasesSuitable for dynamic data that requires frequent changes.Suitable for static data that should remain untouched.
MemorySlightly more memory-intensive.Memory-wise, it is more efficient.
Function ReturnsIt is commonly used to return several values from a function.It may also be used to return several values from a function.
PerformanceModifying a list can be faster, but it is slower for huge lists.Faster and more memory-efficient, especially for big datasets

Conclusion

In conclusion, due to their mutability, lists, and tuples in Python serve unique functions. Lists are fluid and adaptable, allowing for dynamic changes and substantial manipulation, making them ideal for circumstances that require flexibility. Tuples, on the other hand, are immutable, ensuring data integrity and memory efficiency in cases when data must remain unmodified. Python developers may successfully pick the proper data structure depending on the individual requirements of their programs by knowing the distinctions between lists and tuples. This will optimize performance and code readability.

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