# For Loops

## Overview

Teaching: 10 min
Exercises: 15 min
Questions
• How can I make a program do many things?

Objectives
• Explain what for loops are normally used for.

• Trace the execution of a simple (unnested) loop and correctly state the values of variables in each iteration.

• Write for loops that use the Accumulator pattern to aggregate values.

## A for loop executes commands once for each value in a collection.

• Doing calculations on the values in a list one by one is as painful as working with `temperature_001`, `temperature_002`, etc.
• A for loop tells Python to execute some statements once for each value in a list, a character string, or some other collection.
• “for each thing in this group, do these operations”
``````for number in [2, 3, 5]:
print(number)
``````
• This `for` loop is equivalent to:
``````print(2)
print(3)
print(5)
``````
• And the `for` loop’s output is:
``````2
3
5
``````

## The first line of the `for` loop must end with a colon, and the body must be indented.

• The colon at the end of the first line signals the start of a block of statements.
• Python uses indentation rather than `{}` or `begin`/`end` to show nesting.
• Any consistent indentation is legal, but almost everyone uses four spaces.
``````for number in [2, 3, 5]:
print(number)
``````
``````IndentationError: expected an indented block
``````
• Indentation is always meaningful in Python.
``````firstName="Jon"
lastName="Smith"
``````
``````  File "<ipython-input-7-f65f2962bf9c>", line 2
lastName="Smith"
^
IndentationError: unexpected indent
``````
• This error can be fixed by removing the extra spaces at the beginning of the second line.

## A `for` loop is made up of a collection, a loop variable, and a body.

``````for number in [2, 3, 5]:
print(number)
``````
• The collection, `[2, 3, 5]`, is what the loop is being run on.
• The body, `print(number)`, specifies what to do for each value in the collection.
• The loop variable, `number`, is what changes for each iteration of the loop.
• The “current thing”.

## Loop variable names follow the normal variable name conventions.

• Loop variables will:
• Be created on demand during the course of each loop.
• Persist after the loop finishes.
• Use a new variable name to avoid overwriting a data collection you need to keep for later
• Often be used in the course of the loop
• So give them a meaningful name you’ll understand as the body code in your loop grows.
• Example: `for single_letter in ['A', 'B', 'C', 'D']:` instead of `for asdf in ['A', 'B', 'C', 'D']:`
``````for kitten in [2, 3, 5]:
print(kitten)
``````

## The body of a loop can contain many statements.

• But no loop should be more than a few lines long.
• Hard for human beings to keep larger chunks of code in mind.
``````primes = [2, 3, 5]
for p in primes:
squared = p ** 2
cubed = p ** 3
print(p, squared, cubed)
``````
``````2 4 8
3 9 27
5 25 125
``````

## Use `range` to iterate over a sequence of numbers.

• The built-in function `range` produces a sequence of numbers.
• Not a list: the numbers are produced on demand to make looping over large ranges more efficient.
• `range(N)` is the numbers 0..N-1
• Exactly the legal indices of a list or character string of length N
``````print('a range is not a list: range(0, 3)')
for number in range(0,3):
print(number)
``````
``````a range is not a list: range(0, 3)
0
1
2
``````

## Or use `range` to repeat an action an arbitrary number of times.

• You don’t actually have to use the iterable variable’s value.
• Use this structure to simply repeat an action some number of times.
• That number of times goes into the `range` function.
``````for number in range(5):
print("Again!")
``````
``````Again!
Again!
Again!
Again!
Again!
``````

## The Accumulator pattern turns many values into one.

• A common pattern in programs is to:
1. Initialize an accumulator variable to zero, the empty string, or the empty list.
2. Update the variable with values from a collection.
``````# Sum the first 10 integers.
total = 0
for number in range(10):
total = total + (number + 1)
print(total)
``````
``````55
``````
• Read `total = total + (number + 1)` as:
• Add 1 to the current value of the loop variable `number`.
• Add that to the current value of the accumulator variable `total`.
• Assign that to `total`, replacing the current value.
• We have to add `number + 1` because `range` produces 0..9, not 1..10.

## Classifying Errors

Is an indentation error a syntax error or a runtime error?

## Solution

It is a syntax error. The problem has to do with the placement of the code, not its logic.

## Tracing Execution

Create a table showing the numbers of the lines that are executed when this program runs, and the values of the variables after each line is executed.

``````total = 0
for char in "tin":
total = total + 1
``````

## Reversing a String

Fill in the blanks in the program below so that it prints “nit” (the reverse of the original character string “tin”).

``````original = "tin"
result = ____
for char in original:
result = ____
print(result)
``````

## Solution

`result` is an empty string because we use it to build or accumulate on our reverse string. `char` is the loop variable for `original`. Each time through the loop `char` takes on one value from `original`. Use `char` with `result` to control the order of the string. Our loop code should look like this:

``````original = "tin"
result = ""
for char in original:
result = char + result
print(result)
nit
``````

If you were to expand out the loop the iterations would look something like this:

``````#First loop
char = "t"
result = ""
char + result = "t"
#Second loop
char = 'i"
result = "t"
char + result = "it"
#Third loop
char = "n"
result = "it"
char + result = "nit"
``````

## Practice Accumulating

Fill in the blanks in each of the programs below to produce the indicated result.

``````# Total length of the strings in the list: ["red", "green", "blue"] => 12
total = 0
for word in ["red", "green", "blue"]:
____ = ____ + len(word)
print(total)
``````
``````# List of word lengths: ["red", "green", "blue"] => [3, 5, 4]
lengths = ____
for word in ["red", "green", "blue"]:
lengths.____(____)
print(lengths)
``````
``````# Concatenate all words: ["red", "green", "blue"] => "redgreenblue"
words = ["red", "green", "blue"]
result = ____
for ____ in ____:
____
print(result)
``````
``````# Create acronym: ["red", "green", "blue"] => "RGB"
# write the whole thing
``````

## Cumulative Sum

Reorder and properly indent the lines of code below so that they print an array with the cumulative sum of data. The result should be `[1, 3, 5, 10]`.

``````cumulative += [sum]
for number in data:
cumulative = []
sum += number
print(cumulative)
sum = 0
data = [1,2,2,5]
``````

## Solution

``````data = [1,2,2,5]
cumulative = []
sum = 0
for number in data:
sum += number
cumulative += [sum]
print(cumulative)
``````
``````[1, 3, 5, 10]
``````

## Identifying Variable Name Errors

1. Read the code below and try to identify what the errors are without running it.
2. Run the code and read the error message. What type of `NameError` do you think this is? Is it a string with no quotes, a misspelled variable, or a variable that should have been defined but was not?
3. Fix the error.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, until you have fixed all the errors.
``````for number in range(10):
# use a if the number is a multiple of 3, otherwise use b
if (Number % 3) == 0:
message = message + a
else:
message = message + "b"
print(message)
``````

## Identifying Item Errors

1. Read the code below and try to identify what the errors are without running it.
2. Run the code, and read the error message. What type of error is it?
3. Fix the error.
``````seasons = ['Spring', 'Summer', 'Fall', 'Winter']
print('My favorite season is ', seasons)
``````

## Solution

It is an index error:

``````IndexError: list index out of range
``````

The problem is that `4` points to an item that doesn’t exist in the list. Remember the first item of a list in Python is `0`.
Replace `seasons` with `seasons`, `seasons`, `seasons` or `seasons` to have the different items of the list printed.

## Key Points

• A for loop executes commands once for each value in a collection.

• The first line of the `for` loop must end with a colon, and the body must be indented.

• Indentation is always meaningful in Python.

• A `for` loop is made up of a collection, a loop variable, and a body.

• Loop variables can be called anything (but it is strongly advised to have a meaningful name to the looping variable).

• The body of a loop can contain many statements.

• Use `range` to iterate over a sequence of numbers.

• The Accumulator pattern turns many values into one.