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3 Ways to remove an element from a List in Python

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Python provides several ways to remove an element from a list. In this blog post, we will explore four of the most common methods: remove(), pop() and del. We will also discuss the pros and cons of each method so that you can choose the best option for your needs.

Remove an element from a List with remove method in Python

The best way to remove an element from a list in Python is using the remove method. This method takes an element as an argument. It removes the first occurrence of that element from the list. If the element is not found in the list, a ValueError is raised. The remove method returns None .

Syntax of Python List remove method

The syntax of the remove() method is: list.remove(element)

  • remove() Parameters: The remove() method takes a single element as an argument and removes it from the list. If the element doesn’t exist, it throws ValueError: list.remove(x): x not in list exception.
  • Return Value from remove() :The remove() doesn’t return any value (returns None).

 

The Python list remove method is used to remove a single element from a list.

Let’s take a look at a simple example:

my_list = [‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’]
>>> my_list.remove(‘b’)
>>> my_list
[‘a’, ‘c’]

In this example, we start with a simple list containing three elements: ‘a’ , ‘b’ , and ‘c’ . We then use the remove method to delete the element ‘b’ . Finally, we print the updated list to see that ‘b’ has been removed.

Limitation of remove method in Python

The remove method is a convenient way to delete elements from a list, but it has some important limitations. First, the remove method can only delete one element at a time. If you want to delete multiple elements from a list, you will need to use the remove method multiple times.

L = [‘red’, ‘green’, ‘blue’, ‘red’, ‘red’]
L.remove(‘red’)
print(L)
# Prints [‘green’, ‘blue’, ‘red’, ‘red’]

If you want to remove multiple instances of an item in a list, use list comprehension or lambda expression.

# list comprehension
L = [‘red’, ‘green’, ‘blue’, ‘red’, ‘red’]
L = [x for x in L if x is not ‘red’]
print(L)
# Prints [‘green’, ‘blue’]

# lambda expression
L = [‘red’, ‘green’, ‘blue’, ‘red’, ‘red’]
L = list(filter(lambda x: x is not ‘red’, L))
print(L)
# Prints [‘green’, ‘blue’]

Second, the remove method does not provide any feedback about which element was deleted from the list. This can be problematic if you are trying to delete an element that is not in the list. In this case, you will get a ValueError .

L = [‘red’, ‘green’, ‘blue’]
L.remove(‘yellow’)
# Triggers ValueError: list.remove(x): x not in list

To avoid such exception, you can check if item exists in a list, using in operator inside if statement.
L = [‘red’, ‘green’, ‘blue’]
if ‘yellow’ in L:
L.remove(‘yellow’)

Alternative of  remove method in Python

To avoid these problems, you can use the pop method instead of the remove method. The pop method takes an index as an argument and removes the element at that index. The pop method also returns the removed element, which makes it easier to handle errors.

>>>my_list = [‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’]
>>> my_list.pop(0)
‘a’
>>> my_list
[‘b’, ‘c’]

In this example, we start with the same list as before: [‘a’ , ‘b’ , ‘c’] . We then use the pop method to remove the element at index 0 , which is ‘a’ . Finally, we print the updated list to see that ‘a’ has been removed. As you can see, the pop method is another option to delete items from a list.

Remove an element from a List with the pop method in Python

The pop() method removes the item at the given position (index) from the list and returns the removed item.

The syntax of the pop() method is:

The pop() method accepts a single argument (item index). If not passed, the default index -1 is passed as an argument (last item of the list). If the index passed to the method is not in the list range, it will throw IndexError: pop index out of range exception.

Example:
my_list = [-15, 0, 67,45]
print(my_list) # [-15, 0, 67,45]
my_list.pop(3) # 45
print(my_list) # [-15, 0, 67]

remove multiple items from list using list pop method

For example, suppose you have a list of numbers and you want to remove the first and last elements from the list. You can do this with the following code:

numbers = [‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’, ‘5’]
numbers.pop(0)
numbers.pop(-1)
print(numbers)

This code will remove the first and last elements from the list, leaving only the middle element.

difference between Python list remove method and Python list pop method

The list remove method is used to remove elements from a list. The method takes an element as an argument and removes the first occurrence of that element from the list. If the element is not found in the list, a ValueError is raised. The remove method returns None .

The list pop method takes an index as an argument and removes the element at that index. The pop method also returns the removed element, which makes it easier to handle errors. If you try to pop an element from an empty list, you will get an IndexError .

The difference between list delete and list pop in Python is that the list remove method deletes an element from a list based on value, while the list pop method deletes an element from a list based on index.

Remove an element from a List with the del statement in Python

You can remove elements from a list with del statements. Specify the item to be deleted by index. The first index is 0, and the last index is -1.

l = [‘Anteater’, ‘Penguin’, ‘Gopher’, ‘Penguin’, ‘Panda’]
print(l)
# [‘Anteater’, ‘Penguin’, ‘Gopher’, ‘Penguin’, ‘Panda’]

del l[2:4]
print(l)
# [‘Anteater’, ‘Penguin’, ‘Panda’]

In summary, the remove method is a convenient way to delete elements from a list. However, it has some important limitations. Thanks for reading!

 

 

David Cao
David Cao

Hey there! I am David, a Cloud & DevOps Enthusiast and 18 years of experience as a Linux engineer. I work with AWS, Git & GitHub, Linux, Python, Ansible, and Bash. I am a technical blogger and a Software Engineer, enjoy sharing my learning and contributing to open-source.