Conditional Execution in Python (Part II)

In order to write useful programs, we almost always need the ability to check conditions and change the behavior of the program accordingly. Conditional statements give us this ability. The simplest form is the if statement:

if x > 0 :

      print ‘x is positive’


The boolean expression after the if statement is called the condition. We end the if statement with a colon character (:) and the line(s) after the if statement are indented. If the logical condition is true, then the indented statement gets executed. If the logical condition is false, the indented statement is skipped.

if statements have the same structure as function definitions or for loops. The statement consists of a header line that ends with the colon character (:) followed by an indented block. Statements like this are called compound statements because they stretch across more than one line.

A second form of the if statement is alternative execution, in which there are two possibilities and the condition determines which one gets executed. The syntax looks like this:

if x%2 == 0 :

    print ‘x is even’

else :

    print ‘x is odd’

If the remainder when x is divided by 2 is 0, then we know that x is even, and the program displays a message to that effect. If the condition is false, the second set of statements is executed.


Sometimes there are more than two possibilities and we need more than two branches. One way to express a computation like that is a chained conditional:

if x < y:

    print ‘x is less than y’

elif x > y:

    print ‘x is greater than y’


    print ‘x and y are equal’

elif is an abbreviation of “else if.” Again, exactly one branch will be executed.

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