# Peculiar swap behavior

Lie Ryan lie.1296 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 5 07:06:27 CET 2009

```andrew cooke wrote:
> Delaney, Timothy (Tim) wrote:
>> Tim Chase wrote:
>>> # swap list contents...not so much...
>>>  >>> m,n = [1,2,3],[4,5,6]
>>>  >>> m[:],n[:] = n,m
>>>  >>> m,n
>>> ([4, 5, 6], [4, 5, 6])
> [...]
>> For these types of things, it's best to expand the code out. The
>> appropriate expansion of:
>>     m,n = [1,2,3],[4,5,6]
>>     m[:],n[:] = n,m
>> is:
>>     m = [1,2,3]
>>     n = [4,5,6]
>>     m[:] = n
>>     n[:] = m
>> [...] OTOH, for:
>>     m,n = [1,2,3],[4,5,6]
>>     m[:],n[:] = n[:],m[:]
>> the expansion is more like:
>>     m = [1,2,3]
>>     n = [4,5,6]
>>     rhs1 = n[:]
>>     rhs2 = m[:]
>>     m[:] = rhs1
>>     n[:] = rhs2
>
> Maybe I'm just being stupid, but you don't seem to have explained
> anything.  Isn't the question: Why is the expansion different for the two
> cases?  Why don't both expand to have the intermediate rhs variables?
>
> Andrew
>
>

Actually the expansion is the same for all case:

Pseudo notation:
m = `m obj`
n = `l obj`
rhs1 = `n rhs`
rhs2 = `m rhs`
`m lhs` = rhs1
`n lhs` = rhs2

where `m rhs` and `n rhs` is whatever you put on the right hand side of
the assingment; and `m lhs` and `n lhs` is whatever you put on the left
hand side of the assignment.

i.e.:
m, n = [1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6]
m[:], n[:] = n, m

is

m = [1, 2, 3]
n = [4, 5, 6]
rhs1 = n
rhs2 = m
m[:] = rhs1
n[:] = rhs2

while:
m, n = [1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6]
m[:], n[:] = n[:], m[:]

is

m = [1, 2, 3]
n = [4, 5, 6]
rhs1 = n[:]
rhs2 = m[:]
m[:] = rhs1
n[:] = rhs2

while:

m, n = [1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6]
m, n = n, m

is
m = [1, 2, 3]
n = [4, 5, 6]
rhs1 = n
rhs2 = m
m = rhs1
n = rhs2

while:
m, n = [1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6]
m, n = n[:], m[:]

is

m = [1, 2, 3]
n = [4, 5, 6]
rhs1 = n[:]
rhs2 = m[:]
m = rhs1
n = rhs2

```