Fix Python – Transpose/Unzip Function (inverse of zip)?

Question

Asked By – Cristian

I have a list of 2-item tuples and I’d like to convert them to 2 lists where the first contains the first item in each tuple and the second list holds the second item.

For example:

original = [('a', 1), ('b', 2), ('c', 3), ('d', 4)]
# and I want to become...
result = (['a', 'b', 'c', 'd'], [1, 2, 3, 4])

Is there a builtin function that does that?

Now we will see solution for issue: Transpose/Unzip Function (inverse of zip)?


Answer

zip is its own inverse! Provided you use the special * operator.

>>> zip(*[('a', 1), ('b', 2), ('c', 3), ('d', 4)])
[('a', 'b', 'c', 'd'), (1, 2, 3, 4)]

The way this works is by calling zip with the arguments:

zip(('a', 1), ('b', 2), ('c', 3), ('d', 4))

… except the arguments are passed to zip directly (after being converted to a tuple), so there’s no need to worry about the number of arguments getting too big.

This question is answered By – Patrick

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