R. David Murray rdmurray at
Sun Mar 22 17:52:02 CET 2009

mattia <gervaz at> wrote:
> Can you explain me this behaviour:
> >>> s = [1,2,3,4,5]
> >>> g = (x for x in s)
> >>> next(g)
> 1
> >>> s
> [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
> >>> del s[0]
> >>> s
> [2, 3, 4, 5]
> >>> next(g)
> 3
> >>>
> Why next(g) doesn't give me 2?

Think of it this way:  the generator is exactly equivalent to
the following generator function:

    def g(s):
        for x in s:
            yield x

Now, if you look at the documentation for the 'for' statement, there is
a big "warning" box that talks about what happens when you mutate an
object that is being looped over:

     There is a subtlety when the sequence is being modified by the loop (this
     can only occur for mutable sequences, i.e. lists). An internal counter is
     used to keep track of which item is used next, and this is incremented on
     each iteration. When this counter has reached the length of the sequence
     the loop terminates. This means that if the suite deletes the current (or
     a previous) item from the sequence, the next item will be skipped (since
     it gets the index of the current item which has already been treated).
     Likewise, if the suite inserts an item in the sequence before the current
     item, the current item will be treated again the next time through the

As you can see, your case is covered explicitly there.

If you want next(g) to yield 3, you'd have to do something like:

    g = (x for x in s[:])

where s[:] makes a copy of s that is then iterated over.

R. David Murray 

More information about the Python-list mailing list