FAQ: Radix Sort: Python - Setting Up For Sorting

This community-built FAQ covers the “Setting Up For Sorting” exercise from the lesson “Radix Sort: Python”.

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This exercise can be found in the following Codecademy content:

Sorting Algorithms

FAQs on the exercise Setting Up For Sorting

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What is the difference between, new_list = old_list and new_list = old_list[:] ? Isn’t both the same?

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No, they are not the same. In your first example, new_list is a reference only to the old_list. They are not discrete lists. Any change directed at one will be visible to the other.

In the second example, old_list[:] is the near equivalent of old_list.copy() so that both lists are now discrete and independent of one another. Now we can mutate either list without affecting the other.


This is great!! Thanks as always…


Is there a reason to use old_list[:] instead of old_list.copy()?

list.copy() was introduced in Python 3 and is the preferred way since it is more readable. Either way is valid, though.

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