python newbie

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Sat Nov 3 08:52:47 CET 2007

On Sat, 03 Nov 2007 08:36:24 +0200, Hendrik van Rooyen wrote:

> "Bruno Desthuilliers" wrote:
>>functions are *not* methods of their module.
> Now I am confused - if I write:
> result =
> Then if foo is a class, we probably all agree that bar is a method of
> foo.

There are funny edge cases (e.g. bar might be an attribute with a 
__call__ method) but in general, yes, bar would be a method of foo.

> But the same syntax would work if I had imported some module as foo.

Same syntax, different semantics. Just like:

"wholemeal bread sandwich"


"cloudy apple juice"

have the same syntax but very different meanings: in the first one, the 
adjective wholemeal refers to the bread, not the entire sandwich, but in 
the second cloudy refers to the juice and not the apple.

> So what's the difference ?  Why can't bar be called a method of foo, or
> is it merely a convention that classes have methods and modules have
> functions?

It is more than merely a convention. In Python, functions and methods are 
different things. They are very similar, but under the hood they are 

>>> def function():
...     pass
>>> class Parrot(object):
...     def method(self):
...             pass
>>> type(function)
<type 'function'>
>>> type(Parrot.method)
<type 'instancemethod'>

You might also like to call dir() on a function and a method and see how 
they differ.

Methods are, in fact, lightweight wrappers around functions, and the 
underlying function can be found in the im_func attribute of the method.

> Note that I am purposely refraining from mentioning a module that has a
> class that has a method.

But that isn't a problem. That is merely a module's class' method.


More information about the Python-list mailing list