Single quotes vs. double quotes in Python


Question

According to the documentation, they're pretty much interchangeable. Is there a stylistic reason to use one over the other?

1
718
9/11/2008 8:18:55 AM

Accepted Answer

I like to use double quotes around strings that are used for interpolation or that are natural language messages, and single quotes for small symbol-like strings, but will break the rules if the strings contain quotes, or if I forget. I use triple double quotes for docstrings and raw string literals for regular expressions even if they aren't needed.

For example:

LIGHT_MESSAGES = {
    'English': "There are %(number_of_lights)s lights.",
    'Pirate':  "Arr! Thar be %(number_of_lights)s lights."
}

def lights_message(language, number_of_lights):
    """Return a language-appropriate string reporting the light count."""
    return LIGHT_MESSAGES[language] % locals()

def is_pirate(message):
    """Return True if the given message sounds piratical."""
    return re.search(r"(?i)(arr|avast|yohoho)!", message) is not None
525
7/7/2011 2:11:35 PM

Quoting the official docs at https://docs.python.org/2.0/ref/strings.html:

In plain English: String literals can be enclosed in matching single quotes (') or double quotes (").

So there is no difference. Instead, people will tell you to choose whichever style that matches the context, and to be consistent. And I would agree - adding that it is pointless to try to come up with "conventions" for this sort of thing because you'll only end up confusing any newcomers.


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