5. String Operators and Assignment Work Time

Quick Overview of Day

Explore how the + and * operators work on strings. Continue to work on the first Python assignment, focused on input/output, data types and conditionals.

5.1. What Does This Program Do?

As you saw in the WDTPD questions from yesterday, using the * operator with strings results in something very different than using the * operator with numeric data. Consider the following questions carefully, being sure you understand WHY they output what they do.


Your teacher may choose to use the following examples as a class activity, by displaying the examples, and having you take a guess as to what you think each will do before running the code.

What will the following programs output? Why?

What will this print if you enter in a 15? How about typing hey?

Enter 3 and 5 when you run the code below. What will the program print? Hint: it will not be an error!

Type in your first name and last name when you run the code below. How can you fix this code to write your name properly?

5.2. Operations on Strings

In general, you cannot perform mathematical operations on strings, even if the strings look like numbers. The following are illegal (assuming that message has type string):

message - 1
"Hello" / 123
message * "Hello"
"15" + 2

Interestingly, the + operator does work with strings, but for strings, the + operator represents concatenation, not addition. Concatenation means joining the two operands by linking them end-to-end. This is the equivalent of using the Scratch scratch_join_block_inline join block. For example:

The output of this program is banana nut bread. The space before the word nut is part of the string and is necessary to produce the space between the concatenated strings. Take out the space and run it again.

The * operator also works on strings. It performs repetition. For example, 'Fun'*3 is 'FunFunFun'. One of the operands has to be a string and the other has to be an integer.

This interpretation of + and * makes sense by analogy with addition and multiplication. Just as 4*3 is equivalent to 4+4+4, we expect "Go"*3 to be the same as "Go"+"Go"+"Go", and it is. Note also in the last example that the order of operations for * and + is the same as it was for arithmetic. The repetition is done before the concatenation. If you want to cause the concatenation to be done first, you will need to use parenthesis.

Check your understanding

5.3. Assignment Work Time

Please spend the rest of the class continuing to work on your current Python assignment (likely some kind of input/output assignment). If you are completely done that assignment, you may want to look ahead at the next assignment or ask your teacher what additional challenges you can attempt.

Next Section - 6. Other Input Methods (PySimpleGUI)