What is Multiple Assignment in Python and How to use it?


When working with Python, you’ll often come across scenarios where you need to assign values to multiple variables simultaneously.

Python provides an elegant solution for this through its support for multiple assignments. This feature allows you to assign values to multiple variables in a single line, making your code cleaner, more concise, and easier to read.

In this blog, we’ll explore the concept of multiple assignments in Python and delve into its various use cases.

Understanding Multiple Assignment

Multiple assignment in Python is the process of assigning values to multiple variables in a single statement. Instead of writing individual assignment statements for each variable, you can group them together using a single line of code.

x, y, z = 10, 20, 30

In this example, the variables x, y, and z are assigned the values 10, 20, and 30, respectively. The values are separated by commas, and they correspond to the variables in the same order.

Simultaneous Assignment

Multiple assignment takes advantage of simultaneous assignment. This means that the values on the right side of the assignment are evaluated before any variables are assigned. This avoids potential issues when variables depend on each other.

x = 5
y = 10
x, y = y, x

In this snippet, the values of x and y are swapped using multiple assignments. The right-hand side y, x evaluates to (10, 5) before assigning to x and y, respectively.

Unpacking Sequences

One of the most powerful applications of multiple assignments is unpacking sequences like lists, tuples, and strings. You can assign the individual elements of a sequence to multiple variables in a single line.

point = (3, 4)
x, y = point

In this example, the tuple (3, 4) is unpacked into the variables x and y. The value 3 is assigned to x, and the value 4 is assigned to y.

Multiple Return Values

Functions in Python can return multiple values, which are often returned as tuples. With multiple assignments, you can easily capture these return values.

def get_coordinates():
    return 5, 10

x, y = get_coordinates()

Here, the function get_coordinates() returns a tuple (5, 10), which is then unpacked into the variables x and y.

Swapping Values

We’ve already seen how multiple assignments can be used to swap the values of two variables. This is a concise way to achieve value swapping without using a temporary variable.

a = 15
b = 25
a, b = b, a  # Values of a and b are swapped

Iterating through Sequences

Multiple assignment is particularly useful when iterating through sequences. It allows you to iterate over pairs of elements in a sequence effortlessly.

points = [(1, 2), (3, 4), (5, 6)]
for x, y in points:
    print(f"X: {x}, Y: {y}")

In this loop, each tuple (x, y) in the points list is unpacked and the values are assigned to the variables x and y for each iteration.

Discarding Values

Sometimes you might not be interested in all the values from an iterable. Python allows you to use an underscore (_) to discard unwanted values.

x, _ = (10, 20)

In this example, only the value 10 from the tuple is assigned to x, while the value 20 is discarded.


Multiple assignments is a powerful feature in Python that makes code more concise and readable. It allows you to assign values to multiple variables in a single line, swap values without a temporary variable, unpack sequences effortlessly, and work with functions that return multiple values. By mastering multiple assignments, you’ll enhance your ability to write clean, efficient, and elegant Python code.

Related: How input() function Work in Python?

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