counting items

Andrew Koenig ark at
Wed Jan 12 19:07:47 CET 2005

"It's me" <itsme at> wrote in message 
news:ukdFd.10645$5R.2000 at

> What's the best way to count number of items in a list?
> For instance,
> a=[[1,2,4],4,5,[2,3]]
> I want to know how many items are there in a (answer should be 7 - I don't
> want it to be 4)

How about this?

    def totallen(x):
        if isinstance(x, (list, tuple, dict)):
            return sum(map(totallen, x))
        return 1

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