# 4. Conditionals¶

## 4.1. The modulus operator¶

The **modulus operator** works on integers (and integer expressions) and yields
the remainder when the first operand is divided by the second. In Python, the
modulus operator is a percent sign (`%`

). The syntax is the same as for other
operators:

```
>>> quotient = 7 / 3
>>> print(quotient)
2
>>> remainder = 7 % 3
>>> print(remainder)
1
```

So 7 divided by 3 is 2 with 1 left over.

The modulus operator turns out to be surprisingly useful. For example, you can
check whether one number is divisible by another—if `x % y`

is zero, then
`x`

is divisible by `y`

.

Also, you can extract the right-most digit or digits from a number. For
example, `x % 10`

yields the right-most digit of `x`

(in base 10).
Similarly `x % 100`

yields the last two digits.

## 4.2. Boolean values and expressions¶

The Python type for storing true and false values is called `bool`

, named
after the British mathematician, George Boole. George Boole created *Boolean
algebra*, which is the basis of all modern computer arithmetic.

There are only two **boolean values**: `True`

and `False`

. Capitalization
is important, since `true`

and `false`

are not boolean values.

```
>>> type(True)
<type 'bool'>
>>> type(true)
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
NameError: name 'true' is not defined
```

A **boolean expression** is an expression that evaluates to a boolean value.
The operator `==`

compares two values and produces a boolean value:

```
>>> 5 == 5
True
>>> 5 == 6
False
```

In the first statement, the two operands are equal, so the expression evaluates
to `True`

; in the second statement, 5 is not equal to 6, so we get `False`

.

The `==`

operator is one of the **comparison operators**; the others are:

```
x != y # x is not equal to y
x > y # x is greater than y
x < y # x is less than y
x >= y # x is greater than or equal to y
x <= y # x is less than or equal to y
```

Although these operations are probably familiar to you, the Python symbols are
different from the mathematical symbols. A common error is to use a single
equal sign (`=`

) instead of a double equal sign (`==`

). Remember that `=`

is an assignment operator and `==`

is a comparison operator. Also, there is
no such thing as `=<`

or `=>`

.

## 4.3. Logical operators¶

There are three **logical operators**: `and`

, `or`

, and `not`

. The
semantics (meaning) of these operators is similar to their meaning in English.
For example, `x > 0 and x < 10`

is true only if `x`

is greater than 0 *and*
less than 10.

`n % 2 == 0 or n % 3 == 0`

is true if *either* of the conditions is true,
that is, if the number is divisible by 2 *or* 3.

Finally, the `not`

operator negates a boolean expression, so `not(x > y)`

is true if `(x > y)`

is false, that is, if `x`

is less than or equal to
`y`

.

## 4.4. Conditional execution¶

In order to write useful programs, we almost always need the ability to check
conditions and change the behavior of the program accordingly. **Conditional
statements** give us this ability. The simplest form is the ** `if`

statement**:

```
if x > 0:
print("%s is positive" % (x))
```

(See Chapter 7.13 for more information on string formatting.)

The boolean expression after the `if`

statement is called the **condition**.
If it is true, then the indented statement gets executed. If not, nothing
happens.

The syntax for an `if`

statement looks like this:

```
if BOOLEAN EXPRESSION:
STATEMENTS
```

As with the function definition from last chapter and other compound
statements, the `if`

statement consists of a header and a body. The header
begins with the keyword `if`

followed by a *boolean expression* and ends with
a colon (:).

The indented statements that follow are called a **block**. The first
unindented statement marks the end of the block. A statement block
inside a compound statement is called the **body** of the statement.

Each of the statements inside the body are executed in order if the boolean
expression evaluates to `True`

. The entire block is skipped if the boolean
expression evaluates to `False`

.

There is no limit on the number of statements that can appear in the body of an
`if`

statement, but there has to be at least one. Occasionally, it is useful
to have a body with no statements (usually as a place keeper for code you
haven’t written yet). In that case, you can use the `pass`

statement, which
does nothing.

```
if True: # This is always true
pass # so this is always executed, but it does nothing
```

## 4.5. Alternative execution¶

A second form of the `if`

statement is alternative execution, in which there
are two possibilities and the condition determines which one gets executed. The
syntax looks like this:

```
if x % 2 == 0:
print("%s is even" % (x))
else:
print("%s is odd" % (x))
```

If the remainder when `x`

is divided by 2 is 0, then we know that `x`

is
even, and the program displays a message to that effect. If the condition is
false, the second set of statements is executed. Since the condition must be
true or false, exactly one of the alternatives will be executed. The
alternatives are called **branches**, because they are branches in the flow of
execution.

As an aside, if you need to check the parity (evenness or oddness) of numbers
often, you might *wrap this code in a function*:

```
def print_parity(x):
if x % 2 == 0:
print("%s is even" % (x))
else:
print("%s is odd" % (x))
```

For any value of `x`

, `print_parity`

displays an appropriate message.
When you call it, you can provide any integer expression as an argument.

```
>>> print_parity(17)
17 is odd
>>> y = 41
>>> print_parity(y+1)
42 is even
```

## 4.6. Chained conditionals¶

Sometimes there are more than two possibilities and we need more than two
branches. One way to express a computation like that is a **chained
conditional**:

```
if x < y:
print("%s is less than %s" % (x, y))
elif x > y:
print("%s is greater than %s" % (x, y))
else:
print("%s and %s are equal" % (x,y))
```

`elif`

is an abbreviation of else if . Again, exactly one branch will be
executed. There is no limit of the number of `elif`

statements but only a
single (and optional) `else`

statement is allowed and it must be the last
branch in the statement:

```
if choice == 'a':
function_a()
elif choice == 'b':
function_b()
elif choice == 'c':
function_c()
else:
print("Invalid choice.")
```

Each condition is checked in order. If the first is false, the next is checked, and so on. If one of them is true, the corresponding branch executes, and the statement ends. Even if more than one condition is true, only the first true branch executes.

## 4.7. Nested conditionals¶

One conditional can also be **nested** within another. We could have written
the trichotomy example as follows:

```
if x == y:
print("%s and %s are equal" % (x,y))
else:
if x < y:
print("%s is less than %s" % (x, y))
else:
print("%s is greater than %s" % (x, y))
```

The outer conditional contains two branches. The first branch contains a simple
output statement. The second branch contains another `if`

statement, which
has two branches of its own. Those two branches are both output statements,
although they could have been conditional statements as well.

Although the indentation of the statements makes the structure apparent, nested conditionals become difficult to read very quickly. In general, it is a good idea to avoid them when you can.

Logical operators often provide a way to simplify nested conditional statements. For example, we can rewrite the following code using a single conditional:

```
if 0 < x:
if x < 10:
print("x is a positive single digit.")
```

The `print`

statement is executed only if we make it past both the
conditionals, so we can use the `and`

operator:

```
if 0 < x and x < 10:
print("x is a positive single digit.")
```

These kinds of conditions are common, so Python provides an alternative syntax that is similar to mathematical notation:

```
if 0 < x < 10:
print("x is a positive single digit.")
```

This condition is semantically the same as the compound boolean expression and the nested conditional.

## 4.8. The `return`

statement¶

The `return`

statement allows you to terminate the execution of a function
before you reach the end. One reason to use it is if you detect an error
condition:

```
def print_square_root(x):
if x <= 0:
print("Positive numbers only, please.")
return
result = x**0.5
print("The square root of %s is %s" % (x, result))
```

The function `print_square_root`

has a parameter named `x`

. The first thing
it does is check whether `x`

is less than or equal to 0, in which case it
displays an error message and then uses `return`

to exit the function. The
flow of execution immediately returns to the caller, and the remaining lines of
the function are not executed.

## 4.9. Keyboard input¶

In Input we were introduced to Python’s built-in function that gets
input from the keyboard: `raw_input()`

. Let’s look at this
again in greater depth.

When `raw_input()`

is called, the program stops and waits for the
user to type something. When the user presses Return or the Enter key, the
program resumes and `raw_input()`

returns what the user typed **as a string**:

```
>>> my_input = raw_input()
3.14159
>>> print(my_input)
3.14159
>>> type(my_input)
<type 'str'>
```

It is always a good idea to tell the user what to input.
We can supply a prompt as a single argument to `raw_input()`

:

```
>>> name = raw_input("What...is your name? ")
What...is your name? Arthur, King of the Britons!
>>> print(name)
Arthur, King of the Britons!
```

Notice that the prompt is a string, so it must be enclosed in quotation marks.

If we expect the user response to be an integer or a float, we can still call `raw_input()`

,
and then use conversion functions to convert what `raw_input()`

returns to other types.

## 4.10. Type conversion¶

Each Python type comes with a built-in command that attempts to convert values
of another type into that type. The `int(ARGUMENT)`

command, for example,
takes any value and converts it to an integer, if possible, or complains
otherwise:

```
>>> int("32")
32
>>> int("Hello")
ValueError: invalid literal for int() with base 10: 'Hello'
```

`int`

can also convert floating-point values to integers, but remember
that it truncates the fractional part:

```
>>> int(-2.3)
-2
>>> int(3.99999)
3
>>> int("42")
42
>>> int(1.0)
1
```

The `float(ARGUMENT)`

command converts integers and strings to floating-point
numbers:

```
>>> float(32)
32.0
>>> float("3.14159")
3.14159
>>> float(1)
1.0
```

It may seem odd that Python distinguishes the integer value `1`

from the
floating-point value `1.0`

. They may represent the same number, but they
belong to different types. The reason is that they are represented differently
inside the computer.

The `str(ARGUMENT)`

command converts any argument given to it to type
`string`

:

```
>>> str(32)
'32'
>>> str(3.14149)
'3.14149'
>>> str(True)
'True'
>>> str(true)
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
NameError: name 'true' is not defined
```

`str(ARGUMENT)`

will work with any value and convert it into a string. As
mentioned earlier, `True`

is boolean value; `true`

is not.

For boolean values, the situation is especially interesting:

```
>>> bool(1)
True
>>> bool(0)
False
>>> bool("Ni!")
True
>>> bool("")
False
>>> bool(3.14159)
True
>>> bool(0.0)
False
```

Python assigns boolean values to values of other types. For numerical types like integers and floating-points, zero values are false and non-zero values are true. For strings, empty strings are false and non-empty strings are true.

NOTE: calling one of these conversion functions on data stored in a variable
does **not** change what’s stored in the variable! It takes what is stored in
the variable and converts it, but does not automatically reassign the result
back to the variable:

```
>>> x = "3.14159"
>>> float(x)
3.14159
>>> type(x)
<type 'str'>
```

If you want x to contain the float 3.14159, you can convert it and reassign it like this:

```
>>> x = float(x)
>>> print(x)
3.14159
>>> type(x)
<type 'float'>
```

## 4.11. GASP¶

GASP (**G**raphics **A**PI for **S**tudents of **P**ython) will enable
us to write programs involving graphics. Before you can use GASP, it needs
to be installed on your machine. If you are running Ubuntu GNU/Linux, see
GASP in Appendix A. Current instructions
for installing GASP on other platforms can be found at
http://dev.laptop.org/pub/gasp/downloads.

After installing gasp, try the following python script:

```
from gasp import *
begin_graphics()
Circle((200, 200), 60)
Line((100, 400), (580, 200))
Box((400, 350), 120, 100)
update_when('key_pressed')
end_graphics()
```

The second to the last command pauses and waits until a key is pressed. Without it, the screen would flash by so quickly you wouldn’t see it.

Running this script, you should see a graphics window that looks like this:

We will be using gasp from here on to illustrate (pun intended) computer programming concepts and to add to our fun while learning. You can find out more about the GASP module by reading Appendix B.

## 4.12. Glossary¶

- block
- A group of consecutive statements with the same indentation.
- body
- The block of statements in a compound statement that follows the header.
- boolean expression
- An expression that is either true or false.
- boolean value
- There are exactly two boolean values:
`True`

and`False`

. Boolean values result when a boolean expression is evaluated by the Python interepreter. They have type`bool`

. - branch
- One of the possible paths of the flow of execution determined by conditional execution.
- chained conditional
- A conditional branch with more than two possible flows of execution. In
Python chained conditionals are written with
`if ... elif ... else`

statements. - comparison operator
- One of the operators that compares two values:
`==`

,`!=`

,`>`

,`<`

,`>=`

, and`<=`

. - condition
- The boolean expression in a conditional statement that determines which branch is executed.
- conditional statement
- A statement that controls the flow of execution depending on some
condition. In Python the keywords
`if`

,`elif`

, and`else`

are used for conditional statements. - logical operator
- One of the operators that combines boolean expressions:
`and`

,`or`

, and`not`

. - modulus operator
- An operator, denoted with a percent sign (
`%`

), that works on integers and yields the remainder when one number is divided by another. - nesting
- One program structure within another, such as a conditional statement inside a branch of another conditional statement.
- prompt
- A visual cue that tells the user to input data.
- type conversion
- An explicit statement that takes a value of one type and computes a corresponding value of another type.
- wrapping code in a function
- The process of adding a function header and parameters to a sequence of program statements is often refered to as “wrapping the code in a function”. This process is very useful whenever the program statements in question are going to be used multiple times.

## 4.13. Exercises¶

Try to evaluate the following numerical expressions in your head, then use the Python interpreter to check your results:

`>>> 5 % 2`

`>>> 9 % 5`

`>>> 15 % 12`

`>>> 12 % 15`

`>>> 6 % 6`

`>>> 0 % 7`

`>>> 7 % 0`

What happened with the last example? Why? If you were able to correctly anticipate the computer’s response in all but the last one, it is time to move on. If not, take time now to make up examples of your own. Explore the modulus operator until you are confident you understand how it works.

if x < y: print("%s is less than %s" % (x, y)) elif x > y: print("%s is greater than %s" % (x, y)) else: print("%s and %s are equal" % (x, y))

*Wrap*this code in a function called`compare(x, y)`

. Call`compare`

three times: one each where the first argument is less than, greater than, and equal to the second argument.To better understand boolean expressions, it is helpful to construct truth tables. Two boolean expressions are

*logically equivalent*if and only if they have the same truth table.The following Python script prints out the truth table for any boolean expression in two variables: p and q:

expression = raw_input("Enter a boolean expression in two variables, p and q: ") print(" p q %s" % (expression)) length = len(" p q %s" % (expression)) print(length*"=") for p in True, False: for q in True, False: print("%-7s %-7s %-7s" % (p, q, eval(expression)))

You will learn how this script works in later chapters. For now, you will use it to learn about boolean expressions. Copy this program to a file named

`p_and_q.py`

, then run it from the command line and give it:`p or q`

, when prompted for a boolean expression. You should get the following output:p q p or q ===================== True True True True False True False True True False False False

Now that we see how it works, let’s wrap it in a function to make it easier to use:

def truth_table(expression): print(" p q %s" % (expression)) length = len( " p q %s" % expression) print(length*"=") for p in True, False: for q in True, False: print("%-7s %-7s %-7s" % (p, q, eval(expression)))

We can import it into a Python shell and call

`truth_table`

with a string containing our boolean expression in p and q as an argument:>>> from p_and_q import * >>> truth_table("p or q") p q p or q ===================== True True True True False True False True True False False False >>>

Use the

`truth_table`

functions with the following boolean expressions, recording the truth table produced each time:- not(p or q)
- p and q
- not(p and q)
- not(p) or not(q)
- not(p) and not(q)

Which of these are logically equivalent?

Enter the following expressions into the Python shell:

True or False True and False not(False) and True True or 7 False or 7 True and 0 False or 8 "happy" and "sad" "happy" or "sad" "" and "sad" "happy" and ""

Analyze these results. What observations can you make about values of different types and logical operators? Can you write these observations in the form of simple

*rules*about`and`

and`or`

expressions?if choice == 'a': function_a() elif choice == 'b': function_b() elif choice == 'c': function_c() else: print("Invalid choice.")

Wrap this code in a function called

`dispatch(choice)`

. Then define`function_a`

,`function_b`

, and`function_c`

so that they print out a message saying they were called. For example:def function_a(): print("function_a was called...")

Put the four functions (

`dispatch`

,`function_a`

,`function_b`

, and`function_c`

into a script named`ch04e05.py`

. At the bottom of this script add a call to`dispatch('b')`

. Your output should be:function_b was called...

Finally, modify the script so that user can enter ‘a’, ‘b’, or ‘c’. Test it by importing your script into the Python shell.

Write a function named

`is_divisible_by_3`

that takes a single integer as an argument and prints “This number is divisible by three.” if the argument is evenly divisible by 3 and “This number is not divisible by three.” otherwise.Now write a similar function named

`is_divisible_by_5`

.Generalize the functions you wrote in the previous exercise into a function named

`is_divisible_by_n(x, n)`

that takes two integer arguments and prints out whether the first is divisible by the second. Save this in a file named`ch04e07.py`

. Import it into a shell and try it out. A sample session might look like this:>>> from ch04e07 import * >>> is_divisible_by_n(20, 4) Yes, 20 is divisible by 4 >>> is_divisible_by_n(21, 8) No, 21 is not divisible by 8

What will be the output of the following?

if "Ni!": print('We are the Knights who say, "Ni!"') else: print("Stop it! No more of this!") if 0: print("And now for something completely different...") else: print("What's all this, then?")

Explain what happened and why it happened.

The following gasp script, in a file named

`house.py`

, draws a simple house on a gasp canvas:from gasp import * # import everything from the gasp library begin_graphics() # open the graphics canvas Box((20, 20), 100, 100) # the house Box((55, 20), 30, 50) # the door Box((40, 80), 20, 20) # the left window Box((80, 80), 20, 20) # the right window Line((20, 120), (70, 160)) # the left roof Line((70, 160), (120, 120)) # the right roof update_when('key_pressed') # keep the canvas open until a key is pressed end_graphics() # close the canvas (which would happen # anyway, since the script ends here, but it # is better to be explicit).

Run this script and confirm that you get a window that looks like this:

- Wrap the house code in a function named
`draw_house()`

. - Run the script now. Do you see a house? Why not?
- Add a call to
`draw_house()`

at the botton of the script so that the house returns to the screen. *Parameterize*the function with x and y parameters – the header should then become`def draw_house(x, y):`

, so that you can pass in the location of the house on the canvas.- Use
`draw_house`

to place five houses on the canvas in different locations.

- Wrap the house code in a function named
*Exploration:*Read over Appendix B and write a script named`houses.py`

that produces the following when run:*hint*: You will need to use a`Polygon`

for the roof instead of two`Line`

s to get`filled=True`

to work with it.