Fix Python – How does tuple comparison work in Python?

Question

Asked By – Paulo

I have been reading the Core Python programming book, and the author shows an example like:

(4, 5) < (3, 5) # Equals false

So, I’m wondering, how/why does it equal false? How does python compare these two tuples?

Btw, it’s not explained in the book.

Now we will see solution for issue: How does tuple comparison work in Python?


Answer

Tuples are compared position by position:
the first item of the first tuple is compared to the first item of the second tuple; if they are not equal (i.e. the first is greater or smaller than the second) then that’s the result of the comparison, else the second item is considered, then the third and so on.

See Common Sequence Operations:

Sequences of the same type also support comparisons. In particular, tuples and lists are compared lexicographically by comparing corresponding elements. This means that to compare equal, every element must compare equal and the two sequences must be of the same type and have the same length.

Also Value Comparisons for further details:

Lexicographical comparison between built-in collections works as follows:

  • For two collections to compare equal, they must be of the same type, have the same length, and each pair of corresponding elements must compare equal (for example, [1,2] == (1,2) is false because the type is not the same).
  • Collections that support order comparison are ordered the same as their first unequal elements (for example, [1,2,x] <= [1,2,y] has the same value as x <= y). If a corresponding element does not exist, the shorter collection is ordered first (for example, [1,2] < [1,2,3] is true).

If not equal, the sequences are ordered the same as their first differing elements. For example, cmp([1,2,x], [1,2,y]) returns the same as cmp(x,y). If the corresponding element does not exist, the shorter sequence is considered smaller (for example, [1,2] < [1,2,3] returns True).

Note 1: < and > do not mean “smaller than” and “greater than” but “is before” and “is after”: so (0, 1) “is before” (1, 0).

Note 2: tuples must not be considered as vectors in a n-dimensional space, compared according to their length.

Note 3: referring to question https://stackoverflow.com/questions/36911617/python-2-tuple-comparison: do not think that a tuple is “greater” than another only if any element of the first is greater than the corresponding one in the second.

This question is answered By – Don

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