Day 2 of diving into Python functions — today we’ll look at:
• positional arguments
• named (or keyword) arguments
I don’t have a preference on which term to use for the latter!
Here’s a simple function – see attached image
—> Which of the five function calls will not work?
While you think about the answer, you can refresh your memory about the terms with yesterdays toot thread!
The parameters in the code above are
The arguments are the strings with names and the integers used in the function calls
– 2 –
In the second call, the first argument,
"Ishaan", is a positional argument as in the first example
However, the second argument is a named argument or a keyword argument
The argument is matched to the parameter by naming it. You’re using the parameter name with an equals before the argument in the function call
Therefore, in this second example, you have one positional argument and one keyword (or named) argument
– 4 –
In this case, you’ve used both arguments as named or keyword arguments. You’re no longer relying on the position of the arguments. What matters now is the keyword you use when calling the function.
This leads us nicely to number 5…
– 5 –
Since you’re using these arguments as named arguments, you no longer need to stick to the order in which they’re defined in the function signature
Python no longer uses position to assign the arguments to the parameter names. This is particularly useful in functions which can take many parameters
In this example, the programmer calling the
greet_person() function has a choice on whether to use positional arguments, named arguments, or a mixture of both (as long as the positional arguments come before the named ones)
There are ways in which the programmer who defines the function can force the user to use positional-only or keyword-only arguments
But we’ll leave that discussion for another day…
In summary, arguments can be positional arguments or named (keyword) arguments
When using positional arguments, the arguments are matched to parameter names depending on their position
Named (keyword) arguments include the parameter name in the function call
Tomorrow, we’ll look at optional arguments which have a default value…
In case you want to go back to Day 1 of this series on Intermediate Python functions, here’s the link: https://qoto.org/@s_gruppetta/109301873510386964
QOTO: Question Others to Teach Ourselves
An inclusive, Academic Freedom, instance
All cultures welcome.
Hate speech and harassment strictly forbidden.
– 3 –
This seems identical to the case in the second example, but we come across one of the rules when using positional and keyword parameters
See the description of the
SyntaxError. It says
positional argument follows keyword argument
When using a mixture of positional and keyword arguments, the positional arguments must come first
And this makes perfect sense, since Python is relying on the position of these arguments within the function call to know which parameter name to assign them to