matching exactly a 4 digit number in python

George Sakkis george.sakkis at
Fri Nov 21 23:25:06 CET 2008

On Nov 21, 4:46 pm, harijay <hari... at> wrote:

> Hi
> I am a few months new into python. I have used regexps before in perl
> and java but am a little confused with this problem.
> I want to parse a number of strings and extract only those that
> contain a 4 digit number anywhere inside a string
> However the regexp
> p = re.compile(r'\d{4}')
> Matches even sentences that have longer than 4 numbers inside
> strings ..for example it matches "I have 3324234 and more"
> I am very confused. Shouldnt the \d{4,} match exactly four digit
> numbers so a 5 digit number sentence should not be matched .

No, why should it ? What you're saying is "give me 4 consecutive
digits", without specifying what should precede or follow these
digits. A correct expression is a bit more hairy:

p = re.compile(r'''
	(?:\D|\b)    # find a non-digit or word boundary..
	(\d{4})       # .. followed by the 4 digits to be matched as group
	(?:\D|\b)    # .. which are followed by non-digit or word boundary
        ''', re.VERBOSE)


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