Lists are a basic type of data structure. Lists can be collections of integers, floats, or strings. It turns out, lists can be used to store any object. The syntax remains the same when constructing a list of floats, [1.0, 2.0, 3.0], a list of integers, [1, 2, 3], or a list of strings ['a', 'b', 'c'].

shoppingList = ['apples', 'bananas', 'oranges']

Basic arithmetic operators can be used to manipulate lists. If you want to add two lists together, use the + operator. To repeat a list twice, use the * operator. Try it! What happens when you multiply shoppingList by 2?

A list is essentially a one-dimensional array. Let’s say you collect your monthly energy bills over the past month. To store your monthly energy consumption over the past 12 months, we could use a list.

monthly_kwh = [144,	132,	159,	137,	167,	165,	168,	146,	166,	191,	150,	197]

Lists are more efficient in memory than the sum of of their components. An int consumes 28 bytes in memory. Verify this in your Python console by running sys.getsizeof(1). Five integers consume 28*5 = 140 bytes in memory.

However, a list of 5 integers consumes less than 140 bytes. See for yourself! In the Python console, create a list of five integers, myList = [1,1,1,1,1]. Find the size of this list, using sys.getsizeof(myList).

How is this possible? As it turns out, each variable, or object, has some overhead information which is stored along with the value. There are also instructions which tell the Python interpreter how to interact with the object. The structural information is stored separately from the value.

Within the list, Python stores only one set of the object’s structural information. If a list contains 5 integers, the list only contains one set of structural information for the integer object. Each integer in the list can reference the common set of structural information in the list object. This explains why lists are more memory efficient.

Don’t take my word for it! Find the size of a list with one integer, two integers, and three integers, and compare them to the size of individual integer object (28 bytes, as we found above). How much does the size increment with each additional integer?

import sys

myList = [1]



Tuples are Python’s immutable version of lists. Like lists, tuples can be constructed from floats, integers, strings, or other objects.Tuples share a lot of syntax with lists, and are constructed using parenthesis. To construct a tuple of integers : (1,2,3,4,5).

Whereas lists can be modified, tuples cannot. The functions append() and remove() do not work with tuples. Once a tuple is created, its value cannot be changed.