Python Tutorial



Python Tutorial

Append in Python


Python is renowned for its rich set of in-built functionalities that streamline and optimize programming tasks. At the heart of Python's toolkit, especially when it comes to data manipulation, is the list data structure. Within this context, the append() method emerges as an invaluable asset. In this tutorial, we will unpack the nuances of the Append in Python functionality, offering insights into its mechanics and applications.


Python's versatility as a programming language is evident in its varied methods and functions, specifically tailored for data operations. Among these, two methods—append() and extend()—stand out, often causing a bit of confusion among learners. While they both interact with lists, their purposes differ considerably. 

This tutorial aims to shed light on these methods, providing a comprehensive understanding of their roles. Whether you're a software developer, data analyst, or a curious enthusiast, a deep dive into these functions can refine your Python coding prowess.

What is Append in Python?

The utility of Python as a programming language is amplified by the myriad of in-built methods it offers, each tailored to solve specific tasks. Among these methods, append() has found its niche by enabling efficient and quick modification of lists. Let's dive deeper into understanding this function:

Append in Python refers to an in-built list method dedicated to facilitating the addition of an item, whether a single element or another list, to the tail-end of an existing list. Given its ease of use and straightforward approach, it’s a favorite among both newbies and experienced coders.

Here is the syntax for this method:

The basic structure of using the append() method is: list_name.append(item)

This simple yet powerful syntax allows programmers to dynamically extend their lists without complicated operations or extensive code.


  1. Adding Single Elements: The primary usage of the append() method is to add individual items to a list. When utilized for a solitary item, it ensures the appended item remains a standalone element, preventing unintentional nested list creation.

Example: If you have list1 = [1, 2, 3] and you execute list1.append(4), the result will be list1 = [1, 2, 3, 4].

  1. Nested Lists: However, when you append a list within another list, a nested list structure ensues. It's not always an unintended consequence. Nested lists can be purposeful, especially when dealing with multi-dimensional data structures.

Example: With list1 = [1, 2, 3] and another list2 = [4, 5], executing list1.append(list2) will result in list1 = [1, 2, 3, [4, 5]].

In summary, while the append() function is a powerful tool for list manipulations, understanding its nuances is key. Its ease of adding single elements makes it a staple in Python programming, but awareness of its limitations, especially regarding nested lists, is essential for effective coding.

What is extend() in Python?

Lists in Python are dynamic arrays that not only can change in size but can also accommodate a diverse set of functionalities. While append() is an essential tool in list manipulation, Python offers another method, extend(), which is particularly instrumental in handling collections or iterables. Let's delve deeper into this function:

Extend in Python is an intrinsic list method specifically designed to merge an iterable (like a list, set, tuple, etc.) into an existing list. Unlike append(), which tacks items onto lists, extend() flattens the given iterable and amalgamates its elements to the end of the list. This results in a merged list without nested lists or structures.

Here is the syntax for this method:

The foundational structure to utilize the extend() method is: list_name.extend(iterable).

The simplicity of this syntax belies its potency. It gives Python developers a convenient avenue to merge multiple data structures seamlessly.


  1. Adding Multiple Elements: The extend() function shines when you want to amalgamate lists or introduce several items simultaneously. Rather than looping through elements and appending them one-by-one, extend() streamlines this operation.

Example: Consider list1 = [1, 2, 3] and another list2 = [4, 5]. Executing list1.extend(list2) will result in list1 = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

  1. Iterable Acceptance: One of the standout features of extend() is its ability to accept various iterables. While lists are the most commonly merged structure, extend() can seamlessly incorporate sets, tuples, or even other lists, giving developers considerable flexibility.

Example: With a set set1 = {6, 7} and a list list1 = [1, 2, 3], executing list1.extend(set1) can yield a result like list1 = [1, 2, 3, 6, 7].

What is a List Collection Type, and What Role Does Append Play?

In any programming language, understanding fundamental data structures is key to mastering more advanced tasks. An append Python list emerges as one of the cornerstones. Their flexibility and ease of use have made them the default choice for a multitude of applications. 

Lists serve as the most basic data structure in Python. Unlike arrays in other languages, they are not constrained by a fixed size. They provide an ordered collection of items - integers, floats, strings, and even other lists.

Role of Append in Lists:

  • Primary Role: The dynamic nature of Python lists is a remarkable feature, and the append() method bolsters this dynamism. Instead of reallocating memory or manually shifting elements, append() seamlessly adds items to the end of the list.

  • Performance Implications: While adding items to the tail end of large arrays in some languages can be performance-intensive, the append() method in Python is designed for efficiency. Predominantly an O(1) operation, it ensures rapid addition of elements. However, one must be cautious, as in rare scenarios involving list resizing, it can spike to an O(n) operation.

Append in Python: Syntax and How to Use It in Lists?

Here's the syntax for the append() method in Python:


In the above syntax,

  • list_name: The name of the list to which you want to add an element.

  • element: The element you want to add to the end of the list.

Here is an example of using the append() method:


my_list = [1, 2, 3]

# Append an element to the end of the list

print(my_list)  # Output: [1, 2, 3, 4]

In this example, the append() method is used to add the integer 4 to the end of the my_list. The resulting list contains [1, 2, 3, 4].

Using Append With array.array()

The array module in Python provides a more memory-efficient way to work with arrays. To use append() with array.array(), you need to create an array object and then use the append() method.

Here is the syntax:


Here is an example:


import array

my_array = array.array('i', [1, 2, 3])

# Append an element to the end of the array

print(my_array)  # Output: array('i', [1, 2, 3, 4])

In this example, we first create an array object my_array of type 'i' (integers) and with initial values. Then, we use the append() method to add the integer 4 to the end of the my_array.

Using Append With collections.deque()

A deque (double-ended queue) is a data structure in Python that allows for efficient adding and removing of elements from both ends. You can use the append() method with collections.deque() to add elements to the right (end) of the deque.

Here is the syntax:


In the above syntax,

  • deque_name: The name of the deque object.

  • element: The element you want to add to the right (end) of the deque.

Here is an example:


from collections import deque

my_deque = deque([1, 2, 3])

# Append an element to the right (end) of the deque

print(my_deque)  # Output: deque([1, 2, 3, 4])

In the above example, we create a deque object my_deque with initial values and then use the append() method to add the integer 4 to the right (end) of the deque.


Differentiating between append and extend in Python is indispensable for any seasoned developer. A meticulous understanding of these concepts not only catalyzes more streamlined coding but also augments a coder's mastery over Python's list maneuvers. Although this tutorial endeavors to furnish a holistic exploration, for those of you who are eager to further your knowledge of Python, sign up for Python courses on upGrad. 


  1. How does extend vs append Python differ?

In the context of Python lists, the extend() method is tailored to assimilate multiple items or merge two lists, preserving a singular tiered structure. On the other hand, the append() method is focused on adding individual items, which might result in nested lists if another list is appended.

  1. Can you append to empty list Python?

Certainly! An empty list in Python is just a list awaiting population. By leveraging the append() method, developers can start populating this list by adding items to its end, thereby incrementally building its content.

  1. What is append meaning in general programming?

In the broad landscape of programming, "append" typically signifies the action of adding elements or items to the tail-end of a collection, whether it be a list, array, or other data structures. It emphasizes the addition without altering the existing sequence.

  1. How do Python append multiple items to list?

To incorporate several items into a Python list simultaneously, developers can resort to the extend() method, which is crafted for this very purpose. Alternatively, a loop can be employed to iterate over the items, appending them to the list one at a time, ensuring each item finds its place in the sequence.

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