Best way to strip punctuation from a string


Question

It seems like there should be a simpler way than:

import string
s = "string. With. Punctuation?" # Sample string 
out = s.translate(string.maketrans("",""), string.punctuation)

Is there?

1
541
6/26/2019 1:36:56 PM

Accepted Answer

From an efficiency perspective, you're not going to beat

s.translate(None, string.punctuation)

For higher versions of Python use the following code:

s.translate(str.maketrans('', '', string.punctuation))

It's performing raw string operations in C with a lookup table - there's not much that will beat that but writing your own C code.

If speed isn't a worry, another option though is:

exclude = set(string.punctuation)
s = ''.join(ch for ch in s if ch not in exclude)

This is faster than s.replace with each char, but won't perform as well as non-pure python approaches such as regexes or string.translate, as you can see from the below timings. For this type of problem, doing it at as low a level as possible pays off.

Timing code:

import re, string, timeit

s = "string. With. Punctuation"
exclude = set(string.punctuation)
table = string.maketrans("","")
regex = re.compile('[%s]' % re.escape(string.punctuation))

def test_set(s):
    return ''.join(ch for ch in s if ch not in exclude)

def test_re(s):  # From Vinko's solution, with fix.
    return regex.sub('', s)

def test_trans(s):
    return s.translate(table, string.punctuation)

def test_repl(s):  # From S.Lott's solution
    for c in string.punctuation:
        s=s.replace(c,"")
    return s

print "sets      :",timeit.Timer('f(s)', 'from __main__ import s,test_set as f').timeit(1000000)
print "regex     :",timeit.Timer('f(s)', 'from __main__ import s,test_re as f').timeit(1000000)
print "translate :",timeit.Timer('f(s)', 'from __main__ import s,test_trans as f').timeit(1000000)
print "replace   :",timeit.Timer('f(s)', 'from __main__ import s,test_repl as f').timeit(1000000)

This gives the following results:

sets      : 19.8566138744
regex     : 6.86155414581
translate : 2.12455511093
replace   : 28.4436721802
783
3/5/2019 9:07:37 PM

Regular expressions are simple enough, if you know them.

import re
s = "string. With. Punctuation?"
s = re.sub(r'[^\w\s]','',s)

In above code, we are substituting(re.sub) all NON[alphanumeric characters(\w) and spaces(\s)] with empty string.
Hence . and ? punctuation won't be present in variable 's' after running s variable through regex.


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