Programmers generally choose names for their variables that are meaningful—they document what the variable is used for.
Variable names can be as long as you like. They can contain both letters and numbers, but they can’t begin with a number. It is legal to use uppercase letters, but it is conventional to use only lower case for variables names.
The underscore character,
_, can appear in a name. It is often used in names with multiple words, such as
If you give a variable an illegal name, you get a syntax error:
>>> 76trombones = 'big parade' SyntaxError: invalid syntax >>> more@ = 1000000 SyntaxError: invalid syntax >>> class = 'Advanced Theoretical Zymurgy' SyntaxError: invalid syntax
76trombones is illegal because it begins with a number.
more@ is illegal because it contains an illegal character,
@. But what’s wrong with
It turns out that
class is one of Python’s keywords. The interpreter uses keywords to recognize the structure of the program, and they cannot be used as variable names.
Python 3 has these keywords:
False class finally is return None continue for lambda try True def from nonlocal while and del global not with as elif if or yield assert else import pass break except in raise
You don’t have to memorize this list. In most development environments, keywords are displayed in a different color; if you try to use one as a variable name, you’ll know.