How to use strings in Python

Enroll in The Complete Python 3 Course: Beginner to Advanced!

Click here to subscribe for more videos like this!

Alright, so what is a string? Well, a string is any text that you want to be treated as text within a program. So again we need to talk about a few other things that we’re going to be talking about actually a few videos from now, but for right now just trying to follow along. So, this is a string because it’s wrapped in quotations, and if we hit enter Python is going to say hello string. Now, you can also use single quotations here to do the same thing. So basically you have two options either using double quotations or single quotations, and let’s say you want to have a word in your string that you well let’s say you need to have a word in that string of text which contains an apostrophe. So let’s say we wrapped in single quotes and we say ‘don’t do that’ Python is going to freak out about that because what it thinks is happening is that we’re starting a string here, we’re typing three letters, and then we’re ending the string, and then it doesn’t know what to do about all this. It’s saying well t do that I don’t know what that means, it’s no variable, and there’s no function that I can perform on this, so I’m just going to freak out and give you a syntax error. So what you would need to do in order to print out don’t do that is you can just wrap it in double quotations and then just type don’t do that, and as you can see what I print it’s going to keep that intact. Now alternatively let’s say you want to quote somebody. So, let’s wrap in double quotes and say, “she said “I want this” and then close it, close it. Again, it’s gonna freak out because what it thinks that we’re trying to do is start a string, say she said, then end the string and then it’s going to freak out over all this because it doesn’t realize that this is part of that string because we have explicitly told it to end the string here. So what you would do in this instance is just wrap the entire string in single quotations. So, ‘she said “I want this”‘ and as you can see it’s going to print it out correctly. Now alternatively what if she said something that had an apostrophe in it. So, let’s try and cope with that so ‘she said “don’t put that there”‘ again it’s going to freak out because we’re starting the string here, we’re adding a single quotation which is not interpreting as the other string, in fact right here where this apostrophe is it thinks that’s the end of the string, so it’s treating this like a string and then this as constants, or variables, or whatever and it doesn’t know what to do with them because we’re not telling it to do anything and then these just random quotations here. So what we need to do in this instance is we need to learn about escaping certain characters. So, let’s write it out first then I’ll explain it. So what we’re going to do is wrap it in single quotes and we’re going to say ‘she said “don/ ‘t do that”‘ and what’s happening here, let’s hit enter. That’s not what…let me that out. It’s just returning what we wrote there. There. So we print that out and what this does is the backslash here tells the next character to be interpreted as text regardless of what it would normally be interpreted as, so rather than this trying to end the string Python knows at this point that we want this to be printed out with the string and not end the string but just printed out as a single character, and so that’s what it’s going to do. So there’s times when you’re going to need to do each of these in your Python code and so that’s how to handle strings and what they are. Again, a string is just a series of characters which is interpreted as text and you can print it, you can manipulate it, we’re actually going to get into string manipulation in the next video.