# Compare tuples of different lenght

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info
Sat Aug 20 06:17:39 EDT 2011

```Jurgens de Bruin wrote:

> Hi,
>
> I have a list of tuples:
>
> [(2,),(12,13),(2,3,4),(8,),(5,6),(7,8,9),]
>
> I would like to compare all the tuples to each other and if one
> element if found two tuples the smallest tuples is removed from the
> list.

It's not clear what you mean by "smallest" tuple. Is (8,) smaller than
(7,8,9)?

I'm going to guess you care only about the length of the tuple, and not the
items themselves.

def compare(t1, t2):
'Return -1 if t1 is "smaller" than t2, 0 if equal, and +1 if "bigger".'
if len(t1) < len(t2): return -1
elif len(t1) > len(t2): return 1
else: return 0

def match_any_item(t1, t2):
try:
s1 = set(t1)
s2 = set(t2)
return bool(s1 & s2)
except TypeError:
# Can't convert to sets because at least one item is mutable.
# Let's do this the slow(?) way.
matched = [x for x in t1 if x in t2]
return bool(matched)

list_of_tuples = [(2,),(12,13),(2,3,4),(8,),(5,6),(7,8,9),]
flags = [True]*len(list_of_tuples)
for i,t1 in enumerate(list_of_tuples):
for j in range(i+1, len(list_of_tuples)):
t2 = list_of_tuples[j]
if match_any_item(t1, t2):
n = compare(t1, t2)
if n == -1:
# Flag t1 to be removed.
flags[i] = False
elif n == 1:
# Flag t2 to be removed.
flags[j] = False

saved_tuples = []
for t,flag in zip(list_of_tuples, flags):
if flag: saved_tuples.append(t)

This gives:

>>> saved_tuples
[(12, 13), (2, 3, 4), (5, 6), (7, 8, 9)]

which matches what you wanted:

> [(12,13),(2,3,4),(5,6),(7,8,9),]

--
Steven

```