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Discussion on: How to Sum Elements of Two Lists in Python

rhymes profile image

Maybe you can add benchmarks to the examples, to have an idea about costs.

There's an example that won't work:

all_devices = [sum(pair) for pair in zip(ethernet_devices, usb_devices)]

this does not actually work:

TypeError: unsupported operand type(s) for +: 'int' and 'list'

The reason is the first item in your lists is an integer, not a list. The whole thing works in the manual examples because Python's + operator has meaning for two integers and for two lists.

Let's see what you're asking for a result:

[2, [7, 7], [2, 1], [8374163, 2314567], [84302738, 0]]

And this is the intermediate iterable generated by zip:

>>> [pair for pair in zip(ethernet_devices, usb_devices)]
[(1, 1), ([7], [7]), ([2], [1]), ([8374163], [2314567]), ([84302738], [0])]

Sum though works only on a list of numbers, so it will break on the second tuple. You can quickly see it by executing:

>>> sum(([7], [7]))
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
TypeError: unsupported operand type(s) for +: 'int' and 'list'

The third example works because operator.add it's just the functional version of the + operator, which does:

>>> (1).__add__(1)
>>> ([7]).__add__([7])
[7, 7]

Hope this helps :)

renegadecoder94 profile image
Jeremy Grifski Author • Edited on

Good catch! I must have made a mistake when I was copying this article over. I’ll correct that section when I get a chance.

EDIT: After a closer look, I guess I just never tested that solution. Whoops! I referenced your great comment in the original post as well.