Help with regular expression in python

MRAB python at
Fri Aug 19 16:43:55 EDT 2011

On 19/08/2011 20:55, rurpy at wrote:
> On 08/19/2011 11:33 AM, Matt Funk wrote:
>> On Friday, August 19, 2011, Alain Ketterlin wrote:
>>> Matt Funk<matze999 at>  writes:
>>>> thanks for the suggestion. I guess i had found another way around the
>>>> problem as well. But i really wanted to match the line exactly and i
>>>> wanted to know why it doesn't work. That is less for the purpose of
>>>> getting the thing to work but more because it greatly annoys me off that
>>>> i can't figure out why it doesn't work. I.e. why the expression is not
>>>> matches {32} times. I just don't get it.
>>> Because a line is not 32 times a number, it is a number followed by 31
>>> times "a space followed by a number". Using Jason's regexp, you can
>>> build the regexp step by step:
>>> number = r"\d\.\d+e\+\d+"
>>> numbersequence = r"%s( %s){31}" % (number,number)
>> That didn't work either. Using the (modified (where the (.+) matches the end of
>> the line)) expression as:
>> number = r"\d\.\d+e\+\d+"
>> numbersequence = r"%s( %s){31}(.+)" % (number,number)
>> instance_linetype_pattern = re.compile(numbersequence)
>> The results obtained are:
>> results:
>> [(' 2.199000e+01', ' : (instance: 0)\t:\tsome description')]
>> so this matches the last number plus the string at the end of the line, but no
>> retaining the previous numbers.
> The secret is buried very unobtrusively in the re docs,
> where it has caught me out in the past.  Specifically
> in the docs for
>    "If a group is contained in a part of the pattern that
>    matched multiple times, the last match is returned."
There's a regex implementation on PyPI:

which does support capturing all of the matches of a group.

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