Is 'everything' a refrence or isn't it?

Mike Meyer mwm at
Wed Jan 4 18:23:57 EST 2006

Peter Hansen <peter at> writes:

> Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>> Python does not have references or pointers, except internally where
>> Python coders can not get to them. It has names and objects. Keep thinking
>> about "call by reference" and you just confuse yourself and others. Think
>> about names and objects and it is simple and straight-forward.
> I won't argue the point, but I would point out that the term "name" is
> insufficient for whatever it is that is stored inside a list.

Correct. What's stored in a list is a reference.

> What do you call it, if not a reference?  The word "binding" isn't
> really appropriate here, as it is easily confused with the operation
> of binding (i.e. usually what assignment does).

To clarify, assignement statements in python are bindings, and don't
do assign values to a variables. Assignment in other languages do that
- which is why people get confused when exposed to what Python does.

Mike Meyer <mwm at>
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.

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