Python Ternary Operator Example: A Practical Guide

The Python ternary operator, also known as the conditional expression, provides a concise way to write simple conditional statements in a single line.

It's a powerful tool for enhancing code readability by condensing conditional expressions.

In this guide, we'll explore the syntax and usage of the ternary operator in Python with practical examples.

Syntax of the Ternary Operator:

The syntax of the ternary operator is as follows:

value_if_true if condition else value_if_false

Basic Example of the Ternary Operator:

Let's start with a basic example where we use the ternary operator to assign a value based on a condition:

# Example: Assigning a value based on a condition
x = 10
y = 20

max_value = x if x > y else y

print("The maximum value is:", max_value)

The output will be:

The maximum value is: 20

In this example, the ternary operator compares the values of x and y. If x is greater than y, the value of x is assigned to max_value; otherwise, the value of y is assigned.

Ternary Operator with Multiple Conditions:

You can chain multiple ternary operators to handle more complex conditions:

# Example: Chaining ternary operators
x = 15
result = "Even" if x % 2 == 0 else "Odd" if x % 3 == 0 else "Neither"

print("The result is:", result)

The output will be:

The result is: Odd

In this example, the ternary operators check if x is even, then if x is divisible by 3, and finally, it returns "Neither" if none of the conditions are met.

Ternary Operator in List Comprehension:

The ternary operator is often used in list comprehensions to create concise and readable code. Here's an example that filters even numbers from a list:

# Example: Using ternary operator in list comprehension
numbers = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]

even_numbers = [num for num in numbers if num % 2 == 0]

print("Even numbers:", even_numbers)

The output will be:

Even numbers: [2, 4, 6, 8]

In this example, the ternary operator is used to filter even numbers from the list numbers in a single line.

Ternary Operator in Function Arguments:

You can also use the ternary operator when specifying default values or arguments in function calls:

# Example: Using ternary operator in function arguments
def greet(name=None):
    name = name if name else "Guest"
    print(f"Hello, {name}!")


The output will be:

Hello, Guest!
Hello, Alice!

In this example, the ternary operator is used to assign a default value ("Guest") to the name variable if it is None.


The Python ternary operator is a concise and expressive way to write conditional expressions in a single line, enhancing the readability of your code.

Whether you're assigning values, chaining conditions, using it in list comprehensions, or specifying default values in function arguments, the ternary operator provides a powerful and compact syntax.

Understanding how to leverage the ternary operator will make your Python code more elegant and efficient. Happy coding!