Problem: How to write the ternary operator in a lambda function?
Example: Say, you’ve got the following example:
def f(x): if x > 100: x = 1.1*x else: x = 1.05*x return x print(f(100)) # 105.0
f(x) takes one argument
x and increases it by 10% if the argument is larger than 100. Otherwise, it increases it by 5%.
In this article, you’ll learn how to convert this code snippet into a Python One-Liner by using the Ternary operator—so stay tuned!
But first things first: we start with a short explanation of the ternary operator and the lambda function. If you already know these Python concepts very well, you can skip them and go right away to the solution.
Short Recap: Ternary Operator
Ternary Operator: The most basic ternary operator
x if c else y consists of three operands
y. It is an expression with a return value. The ternary operator returns
x if the Boolean expression
c evaluates to
True. Otherwise, if the expression
c evaluates to
False, the ternary operator returns the alternative
Syntax: The three operands are written as
x if c else y which reads as “return
c else return
y“. Let’s write this more intuitively as:
<OnTrue> if <Condition> else <OnFalse>
|<OnTrue>||The return expression of the operator in case the condition evaluates to |
|<Condition>||The condition that determines whether to return the <On True> or the <On False> branch.|
|<OnFalse>||The return expression of the operator in case the condition evaluates to |
Related article: For a full tutorial on the ternary operator, check out our detailed blog article.
Short Recap: Lambda Function
A lambda function is an anonymous function in Python. It starts with the keyword
lambda, followed by a comma-separated list of zero or more arguments, followed by the colon and the return expression. For example,
lambda x, y, z: x+y+z would calculate the sum of the three argument values
Here’s a practical example where lambda functions are used to generate an incrementor function:
Exercise: Add another parameter to the lambda function!
Watch the video or read the article to learn about lambda functions in Python:
Now, you know everything you need to know to shorten the above code snippet!
Method: Using the Ternary Operator in a Lambda Function
As it turns out, you can also use the ternary operator effectively:
f = lambda x: 1.1*x if x>100 else 1.05*x print(f(100)) # 105.0
The result is the same. An intermediate to advanced Python coder will have no problem understanding the code and it’s much more concise. That’s why I’d prefer this way over the first one.
Here’s a direct one-on-one comparison of both methods. Which one do you like most?
Try it yourself:
Exercise: Before you run the code, take a guess: what’s the output of this code puzzle?
Where to Go From Here?
Enough theory. Let’s get some practice!
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While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com that has taught exponential skills to millions of coders worldwide. He’s the author of the best-selling programming books Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), The Art of Clean Code (NoStarch 2022), and The Book of Dash (NoStarch 2022). Chris also coauthored the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books. He’s a computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.