Skip to content

If statements

If statements

The if-statement is one of the basic selection structures in Python. The syntax for a section of code that contains an if statement is below:

if <logical_condition>:
    <code to run>

The keyword if begins the statement. Following if, a logical condition must to be included. A logical condition is an variable or expression that can be evaluated as True or False. An example of a logical condition is a<5. The logical condition a<5 returns True if a is less than 5. Otherwise, if a is 5 or greater a<5 returns False. Following the logical condition, a colon : is required. After the if-statement, a section of code to run when the condition is True is included. The section of <code to run> must be indented and every line in this section of code must be indented the same number of spaces. By convention, indentation is four spaces in Python. Most Python code editors, including Jupyter notebooks, indent code after if-statements automatically.

The section of code below demonstrates an if-statement in Python:

In [1]:
a = 2
if a<5:
    print('less than five')

less than five

In the first line of code in the example above, the variable a is assigned the value 2. The second line of code is the if-statement. The if-statement starts with the keyword if and is followed by the logical condition a<5 and a colon :. The logical condition a<5 will return either True or False depending on the value of a. Since a=2, the logical condition a<5 evaluates as True. The line print('less than five') is indented after the if-statement. The line of code including the print() statement will run if the if-statement is True. Since the if-statement is True, the indented line print('less than five') runs. As a result of running these three lines of code, the user sees the text less than five.

Multiple if statements

If-statements can be chained together one after another to create a programmatic flow. For example, the following code block utilizes three different if-statements, each if-statement is followed by an indented code block.

In [2]:
a = 2
if a<0:
    print('is negative')
if a == 0:
    print('is zero')
if a>0:
    print('is positive')

is positive

Note how each if-statement is followed by a logical condition and a colon :. Also, note how the code below each if-statement is indented. With the code left-justified (not indented), all three code lines will run, and the output will be different. The pass keyword is used as the code will not run unless at least one line of code is indented after the if-statement. pass is a line of code that does nothing in Python.
In [3]:
a = 2
if a<0:
    pass
print('a is negative')
if a == 0:
    pass
print('a is zero')
if a>0:
    pass
print('a is positive')

a is negative
a is zero
a is positive