Creating a Python Program to Print the Series Sum: 1+2+…+n

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: Imagine we have a task to write a Python program that reads an integer number n and prints a series that sums every natural number from 1 up to n. The expected output for an input like 5 would be a string “1+2+3+4+5=15”.

Method 1: Loop Iteration

This method involves using a for loop to iterate through a range of numbers from 1 to n. Within the loop, we keep concatenating the current number to a string, and also maintain a running sum. This is one of the most straightforward methods to solve the problem as it uses basic control structures of Python.

Here’s an example:

def print_series_and_sum(n):
    series = ""
    total = 0
    for i in range(1, n + 1):
        series += str(i) + "+"
        total += i
    series = series.strip("+") + "=" + str(total)


Output: 1+2+3+4+5=15

In this snippet, the print_series_and_sum function constructs a series from 1 to n by iterating and adding each number to the string, as well as summing up the total. The .strip("+") method is used to remove the trailing plus sign before adding the sum to the output.

Method 2: List Comprehension and Join

Instead of using a for-loop, we can utilize list comprehension to generate the series of numbers and then join them together with a plus symbol. This method is more concise than the first one and demonstrates the power of Python’s list comprehensions for creating and transforming lists in a single line of code.

Here’s an example:

def print_series_and_sum(n):
    series = '+'.join(str(i) for i in range(1, n + 1))
    total = sum(range(1, n + 1))


Output: 1+2+3+4+5=15

Here, the list comprehension inside the join function creates a list of strings for each number. Afterward, it is joined into one string with pluses between the numbers. The sum of the range gives us the total which is then formatted into the output.

Method 3: Using the reduce Function

Another functional programming tool at our disposal in Python is the reduce function from the functools module. This method is less common but showcases an alternative approach that applies a rolling computation to sequential pairs of values in a list.

Here’s an example:

from functools import reduce

def print_series_and_sum(n):
    series_list = map(str, range(1, n + 1))
    series = reduce(lambda acc, x: f"{acc}+{x}", series_list)
    total = reduce(lambda acc, x: acc + x, range(1, n + 1))


Output: 1+2+3+4+5=15

This code uses reduce twice: once to combine the numbers into a series string and once more to compute the total. The lambda functions define how pairs of list items are combined, effectively generating the same string and sum as the previous methods.

Method 4: Recursive Function

A less conventional approach for generating the series is recursion. This method emphasizes the concept of breaking down a problem into smaller instances using function calls that refer to themselves.

Here’s an example:

def print_series_and_sum_recur(n, acc="", total=0):
    if n == 0:
        print_series_and_sum_recur(n - 1, f"{n}+{acc}", total + n)


Output: 1+2+3+4+5=15

In this recursive approach, print_series_and_sum_recur calls itself with decreasing values of n until n reaches zero, which serves as the exit condition. The cumulative string and sum are built in reverse order due to the nature of recursive calls.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Generator Expression

For enthusiasts of concise code, a one-liner using a generator expression can accomplish the task. This combines the creation, processing, and output of the series in a single line, utilizing Python’s expressive syntax.

Here’s an example:

print_series_and_sum_one_liner = lambda n: print(f"{' + '.join(str(i) for i in range(1, n+1))}={sum(range(1, n+1))}")


Output: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = 15

The one-liner defines an anonymous lambda function, which executes all operations required to produce the output when called. While it is impressively concise, it might be considered less readable, especially for novice coders.


  • Method 1: Loop Iteration. Straightforward and readable. Versatile for similar tasks. May be less efficient due to manual string concatenation.
  • Method 2: List Comprehension and Join. Pythonic and concise. Makes good use of built-in functions. Could be less familiar to new Python users.
  • Method 3: Using the reduce Function. Illustrative of functional programming. Not as readable for those unfamiliar with reduce. Potentially overcomplicated for this task.
  • Method 4: Recursive Function. Demonstrates the recursive approach. Not optimal due to Python’s recursion depth limitation and potential stack overflow for large n.
  • Bonus Method 5: Generator Expression. Extremely concise one-liner. May sacrifice readability and it’s not easily extendable for additional logic.