Python Ternary Multiple Lines

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What if you have a ternary operator that’s very long?

var = 'I want to learn Python' if 42**2<166 else 'I want to learn Go programming'
print(var)
# I want to learn Go programming

Problem: How to write the ternary operator in multiple lines?

Short Recap: Ternary Operator

Ternary Operator: The most basic ternary operator x if c else y consists of three operands x, c, and 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 y.

Syntax: The three operands are written as x if c else y which reads as “return x if c else return y“. Let’s write this more intuitively as:

<OnTrue> if <Condition> else <OnFalse>
OperandDescription
<OnTrue>The return expression of the operator in case the condition evaluates to True
<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 False
Operands of the Ternary Operator
The Python Ternary Operator – And a Surprising One-Liner Hack

Related article: For a full tutorial on the ternary operator, check out our detailed blog article.

Method: Parenthesis to Extend Logical Line Over Multiple Physical Lines

Solution: You can extend any logical line in Python over multiple physical lines by using the parenthesis.

var = 'I want to learn Python' if 42**2<166 else 'I want to learn Go programming'
print(var)

var = ('I want to learn Python'
       if 42**2<166 else
       'I want to learn Go programming')
print(var)
# I want to learn Go programming

This is the PEP8 standard way of breaking long lines—if you cannot do it in a more natural way (such as avoiding the ternary operator and using the if statement in this example).

Try it yourself:

Exercise: Write a nested ternary operator and break it into multiple lines!

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