Does Python have a ternary conditional operator?

Python is a versatile programming language that offers various features to simplify code and enhance readability. One common question that arises among Python developers is whether Python has a ternary conditional operator similar to other programming languages.

What is a ternary conditional operator?

A ternary conditional operator is a syntactic construct that allows developers to write conditional expressions concisely with a single line of code. It is a shorter and more readable alternative to if-else statements in certain situations.

The syntax of a ternary conditional operator:

condition ? expression_if_true : expression_if_false

Here, the condition is evaluated, and if it is true, the expression_if_true is executed. Otherwise, the expression_if_false is executed.

Python's alternative to the ternary conditional operator:

Although Python doesn't have a ternary conditional operator with the exact syntax mentioned above, it offers a similar construct using the if-else statement. The alternative syntax in Python is:

expression_if_true if condition else expression_if_false

This syntax achieves the same functionality as a ternary conditional operator but with a different syntax.


Let's look at a few examples to understand how to use the alternative to the ternary conditional operator in Python:

Example 1:

x = 5
result = "Even" if x % 2 == 0 else "Odd"
print(result)  # Output: Odd

In this example, we check if x is divisible by 2 using the modulus operator (%). If it is, "Even" is assigned to result. Otherwise, "Odd" is assigned.

Example 2:

age = 20
category = "Adult" if age >= 18 else "Minor"
print(category)  # Output: Adult

In this example, we check if age is greater than or equal to 18. If it is, "Adult" is assigned to category. Otherwise, "Minor" is assigned.

Advantages of Python's alternative syntax:

Although the alternative syntax in Python may seem different from the traditional ternary conditional operator syntax, it offers several advantages:

  • Readability: The alternative syntax is more readable and expressive, especially for complex conditions.
  • Flexibility: The alternative syntax allows developers to include multiple expressions in the if-else statement, making it more versatile.
  • Consistency: Python's alternative syntax follows the language's overall design philosophy of prioritizing code readability and simplicity.


While Python doesn't have a ternary conditional operator with the same syntax as other languages, it offers a comparable alternative using the if-else statement. This alternative syntax provides the same functionality, enhances readability, and maintains consistency with Python's design principles.