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How to append multiple items to a list in Python

Step into the World of Python Lists

Before we dive into the specifics of appending multiple items to a list in Python, let's take a moment to understand what a list is. Think of a list as a train with multiple carriages. Each carriage can contain something different - a number, a word, another train, or even nothing at all! In Python, we refer to these "carriages" as elements, and the train itself as a list.

Let's Create a List

Creating a list in Python is as easy as pie. Here's how we can create a list of numbers:

numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

In this example, numbers is our list, and it contains five elements: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Note that we use square brackets [] to denote a list, and commas , to separate each element.

Adding a Single Item: The Append() Method

Now that we have our list, let's say we want to add another number to it. This is where the append() method comes in. Just like how we can add a new carriage to our train, the append() method allows us to add a new element to the end of our list.


If we print our numbers list now, we will see that it contains six elements: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What If We Want to Add Multiple Items?

But what if we have a whole bunch of numbers that we want to add to our list? Typing out append() for each number can quickly become tedious. Thankfully, Python has a couple of ways to solve this problem.

The Extend() Method

The extend() method is like a super-powered version of append(). Instead of adding one element at a time, extend() allows us to add multiple elements at once.

numbers.extend([7, 8, 9])

Now, our numbers list contains nine elements: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Notice that we passed the numbers we wanted to add as a list. This is important, as extend() expects a list of elements.

The Plus Operator (+)

Python also allows us to use the plus operator + to add multiple items to a list. This works similar to the extend() method, but with a slight difference. The + operator creates a new list that combines the elements of the existing list and the new elements.

numbers = numbers + [10, 11, 12]

Our numbers list now contains twelve elements: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Some Things to Keep in Mind

While extend() and + can both be used to add multiple items, they are not exactly the same. extend() modifies the existing list, while + creates a new list. This distinction becomes important when you're dealing with large lists, as creating a new list can use up more of your computer's memory.


And there you have it! You've just learned how to add multiple items to a list in Python. Just like a train conductor deciding how many carriages to add to their train, you now have the power to extend your lists as you see fit.

Remember, Python is a tool, and like any tool, the key to mastery is practice. So go ahead, fire up your Python interpreter and start experimenting with lists. Have fun exploring, and happy coding!

In the world of programming, as in life, the journey is just as important as the destination. So, don't just rush to write lines of code. Take your time to understand what each line does, and how it contributes to your overall program. And remember, there's always more than one way to solve a problem. If one method doesn't work, try another. There's always a solution waiting to be discovered.