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Compound statements contain (groups of) other statements; they affect or control the execution of those other statements in some way. In general, compound statements span multiple lines, although in simple incarnations a whole compound statement may be contained in one line.
for statements implement traditional control flow constructs.
try specifies exception handlers and/or cleanup code for a group of statements. Function and class definitions are also syntactically compound statements.
Compound statements consist of one or more `clauses'. A clause consists of a header and a `suite'. The clause headers of a particular compound statement are all at the same indentation level. Each clause header begins with a uniquely identifying keyword and ends with a colon. A suite is a group of statements controlled by a clause. A suite can be one or more semicolon-separated simple statements on the same line as the header, following the header's colon, or it can be one or more indented statements on subsequent lines. Only the latter form of suite can contain nested compound statements; the following is illegal, mostly because it wouldn't be clear to which
if clause a following
else clause would belong:
if test1: if test2: print x
Also note that the semicolon binds tighter than the colon in this context, so that in the following example, either all or none of the
if x < y < z: print x; print y; print z
compound_stmt: if_stmt | while_stmt | for_stmt | try_stmt | funcdef | classdef suite: stmt_list NEWLINE | NEWLINE INDENT statement+ DEDENT statement: stmt_list NEWLINE | compound_stmt stmt_list: simple_stmt (";" simple_stmt)* [";"]
Note that statements always end in a
NEWLINE possibly followed by a
DEDENT. Also note that optional continuation clauses always begin with a keyword that cannot start a statement, thus there are no ambiguities (the `dangling
else' problem is solved in Python by requiring nested
if statements to be indented).
The formatting of the grammar rules in the following sections places each clause on a separate line for clarity.
if statement is used for conditional execution:
if_stmt: "if" expression ":" suite ("elif" expression ":" suite)* ["else" ":" suite]
It selects exactly one of the suites by evaluating the expressions one by one until one is found to be true (see section "Boolean operations" on page35 for the definition of true and false); then that suite is executed (and no other part of the
if statement is executed or evaluated). If all expressions are false, the suite of the
else clause, if present, is executed.
while statement is used for repeated execution as long as an expression is true:
while_stmt: "while" expression ":" suite ["else" ":" suite]
This repeatedly tests the expression and, if it is true, executes the first suite; if the expression is false (which may be the first time it is tested) the suite of the
else clause, if present, is executed and the loop terminates.
break statement executed in the first suite terminates the loop without executing the
else clause's suite. A
continue statement executed in the first suite skips the rest of the suite and goes back to testing the expression.
for statement is used to iterate over the elements of a sequence (string, tuple or list):
for_stmt: "for" target_list "in" expression_list ":" suite ["else" ":" suite]
The expression list is evaluated once; it should yield a sequence. The suite is then executed once for each item in the sequence, in the order of ascending indices. Each item in turn is assigned to the target list using the standard rules for assignments, and then the suite is executed. When the items are exhausted (which is immediately when the sequence is empty), the suite in the
else clause, if present, is executed, and the loop terminates.
break statement executed in the first suite terminates the loop without executing the
else clause's suite. A
continue statement executed in the first suite skips the rest of the suite and continues with the next item, or with the
else clause if there was no next item.
The suite may assign to the variable(s) in the target list; this does not affect the next item assigned to it.
The target list is not deleted when the loop is finished, but if the sequence is empty, it will not have been assigned to at all by the loop. Hint: the built-in function
range() returns a sequence of integers suitable to emulate the effect of Pascal's
for i := a to b do; e.g.
range(3) returns the list
[0, 1, 2].
Warning: There is a subtlety when the sequence is being modified by the loop (this can only occur for mutable sequences, i.e. lists). An internal counter is used to keep track of which item is used next, and this is incremented on each iteration. When this counter has reached the length of the sequence the loop terminates. This means that if the suite deletes the current (or a previous) item from the sequence, the next item will be skipped (since it gets the index of the current item which has already been treated). Likewise, if the suite inserts an item in the sequence before the current item, the current item will be treated again the next time through the loop. This can lead to nasty bugs that can be avoided by making a temporary copy using a slice of the whole sequence, e.g.
for x in a[:]: if x < 0: a.remove(x)
try statement specifies exception handlers and/or cleanup code for a group of statements:
try_stmt: try_exc_stmt | try_fin_stmt try_exc_stmt: "try" ":" suite ("except" [expression ["," target]] ":" suite)+ ["else" ":" suite] try_fin_stmt: "try" ":" suite "finally" ":" suite
There are two forms of
try...finally. These forms cannot be mixed (but they can be nested in each other).
try...except form specifies one or more exception handlers (the
except clauses). When no exception occurs in the
try clause, no exception handler is executed. When an exception occurs in the
try suite, a search for an exception handler is started. This inspects the except clauses in turn until one is found that matches the exception. An expression-less except clause, if present, must be last; it matches any exception. For an except clause with an expression, that expression is evaluated, and the clause matches the exception if the resulting object is "compatible" with the exception. An object is compatible with an exception if it is either the object that identifies the exception, or (for exceptions that are classes) it is a base class of the exception, or it is a tuple containing an item that is compatible with the exception. Note that the object identities must match, i.e. it must be the same object, not just an object with the same value.
If no except clause matches the exception, the search for an exception handler continues in the surrounding code and on the invocation stack.
If the evaluation of an expression in the header of an except clause raises an exception, the original search for a handler is cancelled and a search starts for the new exception in the surrounding code and on the call stack (it is treated as if the entire
try statement raised the exception).
When a matching except clause is found, the exception's parameter is assigned to the target specified in that except clause, if present, and the except clause's suite is executed. When the end of this suite is reached, execution continues normally after the entire try statement. (This means that if two nested handlers exist for the same exception, and the exception occurs in the try clause of the inner handler, the outer handler will not handle the exception.)
Before an except clause's suite is executed, details about the exception are assigned to three variables in the
sys.exc_type receives the object identifying the exception;
sys.exc_value receives the exception's parameter;
sys.exc_traceback receives a traceback object (see page17) identifying the point in the program where the exception occurred.
else clause is executed when no exception occurs in the
try clause. Exceptions in the
else clause are not handled by the preceding
try...finally form specifies a `cleanup' handler. The
try clause is executed. When no exception occurs, the
finally clause is executed. When an exception occurs in the
try clause, the exception is temporarily saved, the
finally clause is executed, and then the saved exception is re-raised. If the
finally clause raises another exception or executes a
continue statement, the saved exception is lost.
break statement is executed in the
try suite of a
try...finally statement, the
finally clause is also executed `on the way out'. A
continue statement is illegal in the
try clause. (The reason is a problem with the current implementation this restriction may be lifted in the future).
A function definition defines a user-defined function object (see "The standard type hierarchy" on page12)(1):
funcdef: "def" funcname "(" [parameter_list] ")" ":" suite parameter_list: (defparameter ",")* ("*" identifier [, "**" identifier] | "**" identifier | defparameter [","]) defparameter: parameter ["=" expression] sublist: parameter ("," parameter)* [","] parameter: identifier | "(" sublist ")" funcname: identifier
A function definition is an executable statement. Its execution binds the function name in the current local name space to a function object (a wrapper around the executable code for the function). This function object contains a reference to the current global name space as the global name space to be used when the function is called.
The function definition does not execute the function body; this gets executed only when the function is called.
When one or more top-level parameters have the form parameter = expression, the function is said to have "default parameter values". Default parameter values are evaluated when the function definition is executed. For a parameter with a default value, the correponding argument may be omitted from a call, in which case the parameter's default value is substituted. If a parameter has a default value, all following parameters must also have a default value this is a syntactic restriction that is not expressed by the grammar.(2)
Function call semantics are described in section "Calls" on page31. When a user-defined function is called, first missing arguments for which a default value exists are supplied; then the arguments (a.k.a. actual parameters) are bound to the (formal) parameters, as follows:
(), if there is just one extra argument, it is a singleton tuple.
Note that the `variable length parameter list' feature only works at the top level of the parameter list; individual parameters use a model corresponding more closely to that of ordinary assignment. While the latter model is generally preferable, because of the greater type safety it offers (wrong-sized tuples aren't silently mistreated), variable length parameter lists are a sufficiently accepted practice in most programming languages that a compromise has been worked out. (And anyway, assignment has no equivalent for empty argument lists.)
It is also possible to create anonymous functions (functions not bound to a name), for immediate use in expressions. This uses lambda forms, described in section "Boolean operations" on page35.
A class definition defines a class object (see section "The standard type hierarchy" on page12):
classdef: "class" classname [inheritance] ":" suite inheritance: "(" [expression_list] ")" classname: identifier
A class definition is an executable statement. It first evaluates the inheritance list, if present. Each item in the inheritance list should evaluate to a class object. The class's suite is then executed in a new execution frame (see section "Code blocks, execution frames, and name spaces" on page23), using a newly created local name space and the original global name space. (Usually, the suite contains only function definitions.) When the class's suite finishes execution, its execution frame is discarded but its local name space is saved. A class object is then created using the inheritance list for the base classes and the saved local name space for the attribute dictionary. The class name is bound to this class object in the original local name space.
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