Python shorthand if

The 'Python shorthand if' is a concise and powerful way to write conditional expressions in just one line.

In Python, you can write conditional expressions concisely and efficiently using shorthand if statements, also known as the ternary operator. The if statement is one of the most basic and important control flow statements in Python. Shorthand if statements can be used to write the same code as a regular if-else block in a single line. In this blog, we will explore Python shorthand if statements, understand their syntax, and discover how to use them effectively in your programming tasks.

if else shorthand, if elif else ladder

Shorthand If

Shorthand if is a way to write if statements more concisely and readable. It's also known as the ternary operator or conditional expression.

The syntax for shorthand if is as follows:

expression ? value_if_true : value_if_false

The expression is the condition that you want to test. The value_if_true is the value assigned to a variable if the expression is true. The value_if_false is the value assigned to a variable if the expression is false.

For example, the following code uses shorthand if to check whether a number is even:

number = 10
even = number % 2 == 0
result = even? "The number is even": "The number is odd"

The code first checks whether the number is even by using the modulo operator (%). If the number is even, the expression number % 2 == 0 will evaluate to True and the value "The number is even" will be assigned to the variable result. Otherwise, the expression will evaluate to False and the value "The number is odd" will be assigned to the result.

The print() statement then prints the value of the result.

Here is another example of shorthand if:

age = 18
can_vote = age >= 18
message = can_vote ? "You can vote": "You cannot vote"

This above code first checks whether the user is old enough to vote by using the comparison operator >=. If the user is old enough to vote, the expression age >= 18 will evaluate to True and the value "You can vote" will be assigned to the variable message. Otherwise, the expression will evaluate as False and the value "You cannot vote" will be assigned to the message.

The print() statement then prints the value of the message. The above example shows how a shorthand if statement can be used to write the same code as a regular if-else block in a single line.

Shorthand If Else

Let's dive into an even more convenient aspect of shorthand if statements: the shorthand if-else or ternary operator. This neat trick allows you to make decisions in a concise and straightforward manner. Imagine it as a shortcut to express your thoughts in code without writing long if-else blocks.

Imagine you have a situation where you want to decide something based on a condition. Like, whether you want to stay indoors if it's raining outside. In regular language, you might say, "If it's raining, stay indoors; otherwise, go outside."

Guess what? We can do this in code too, using the shorthand if-else approach. The idea is to put the decision process in a single line.

Here's the basic structure:

result = value_if_true if condition else value_if_false

The following one line code snippet shows an example of using logical operators in a shorthand if statement:

condition is the thing you want to check, like "Is it raining?"

value_if_true is what you want if the condition is true, like "Stay indoors."

value_if_false is what you want if the condition is false, like "Go outside."

The if block is the part of an if statement that is executed if the condition is met. The else block is the part of an if statement that is executed if the condition is not met.

Benefits of Shorthand If

Concise Code: Shorthand if statements condense complex if-else blocks into a single line of code, reducing code length and improving code readability. This brevity helps you quickly grasp the logic behind the condition without the need for extensive scrolling or indentation.

Improved Readability: With concise and straightforward syntax, shorthand if statements enhance the overall readability of your code. They present conditional expressions in a clear and focused manner, making it easier for you and other developers to understand the code logic.

Easier Debugging: Shorter code with fewer lines of if-else statements can lead to easier debugging. When issues arise, it becomes more manageable to pinpoint and fix errors, ultimately saving development time.

Enhanced Maintainability: As code grows in complexity, maintaining it can become challenging. Shorthand if statements help maintain codebases by reducing clutter and making updating and modifying conditions simpler when necessary.

Differences from Regular If-Else

  1. Syntax: The most apparent difference between shorthand if statements and regular if-else blocks is the syntax. Shorthand if statements follow the format value_if_true if condition else value_if_false, resulting in a more concise expression. On the other hand, regular if-else statements have a more elaborate structure with explicit indentation and a separate block of code for each branch.
  2. Complexity: Shorthand if statements are best suited for simple conditions and expressions. They work efficiently when dealing with straightforward checks, making the code more compact. In contrast, regular if-else blocks offer greater flexibility and are capable of handling more complex conditions with multiple checks and nested logic.
  3. Readability: While shorthand, if statements can improve code readability when used judiciously, excessively nesting them or writing complex expressions, can lead to decreased readability. Regular if-else blocks, with their clearer indentation and separate code blocks for each branch, may be more readable for intricate conditional logic.
  4. Error Handling: In regular if-else blocks, you can easily extend the logic to include additional conditions, elif branches, and a final else statement to handle unexpected scenarios. Shorthand if statements lack this flexibility, as they only cater to a single if-else scenario. As a result, handling multiple conditions and error scenarios might be more challenging with shorthand if statements.
  5. Maintainability: Regular if-else blocks generally provide better maintainability when the codebase evolves. The explicit nature of the structure makes it easier to understand and modify as requirements change. Shorthand if statements, while concise, can become difficult to manage and modify as the logic becomes more intricate.


Python shorthand if statements offer a concise and efficient way to handle conditional expressions in your code. By using them wisely, you can simplify your codebase, enhance readability, and make your Python programming journey more enjoyable and productive. Shorthand methods can help you write code more efficiently.

You can also check these blogs:

  1. How to Draw a Circle in Python?
  2. How to print a list in Python
  3. Efficient Python Variable Clearing
  4. Python argparse
  5. How to handle with open exceptions in Python?
  6. Python import class from another file
  7. Newton Raphson method in Python
  8. Kalman Filter in Python
  9. How to use Pi in Python?
  10. How to append multiple elements in a list in Python?