Getting the last element of a list

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In Python, how do you get the last element of a list?
Dec 3, 2020 in Python by anonymous
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1 answer to this question.

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some_list[-1] is the shortest and most Pythonic.

In fact, you can do much more with this syntax. The some_list[-n] syntax gets the nth-to-last element. So some_list[-1] gets the last element, some_list[-2] gets the second to last, etc, all the way down to some_list[-len(some_list)], which gives you the first element.

You can also set list elements in this way. For instance:

>>> some_list = [1, 2, 3]
>>> some_list[-1] = 5 # Set the last element
>>> some_list[-2] = 3 # Set the second to last element
>>> some_list
[1, 3, 5]

Note that getting a list item by index will raise an IndexError if the expected item doesn't exist. This means that some_list[-1] will raise an exception if some_list is empty because an empty list can't have the last element.

answered Dec 3, 2020 by anonymous
• 65,870 points

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