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Python for Basic Data Analysis

Start your data science journey with Python. Learn practical Python programming skills for basic data manipulation and analysis.

What are Arbitrary Arguments (*args)?

*args is the short form for Arbitrary Arguments 

If the number of arguments to be passed into the function is unknown, add a (*) before the argument name.

Lets say you want to create a function that will sum up a list of numbers. The most intuitive way will be to create that list and pass it into a function, as shown below. 


However, if we do it this way it means that we will have to create a new list every single time. 

So an alternative will be to use*args where you can pass a varying number of positional arguments instead of creating a list to store these arguments.

Lets edit our sum_function()


*args is just a name. We can change arg to anything we want like how we changed it to *numbers above.

The important thing here is the unpacking operator (*)

The operator will take all positional arguments given in the input and pack them all into a single iterable object. Take note, the iterable object will be a tuple not a list.

Tuples and lists are similar in all aspects except that tuples are not mutable. Immutable means its values cannot be edited after assignment.

Video Guide


Write a function that will take in an unknown number of arguments and multiply all of them together and run the function for these 2 sets of numbers:

  • 1,2,3,4,5
  • 12,13,14