Python: Deleting specific words from a file.

John Gordon gordon at
Fri Sep 9 05:16:13 CEST 2011

In <30f9b718-bb3c-4c92-8a03-0f760c993939 at> papu <prachar at> writes:

> Hello, I have a data file (un-structed messy file) from which I have
> to scrub specific list of words (delete words).

> Here is what I am doing but with no result:

> infile = "messy_data_file.txt"
> outfile = "cleaned_file.txt"

> delete_list = ["word_1","word_2"....,"word_n"]
> new_file = []

What does new_file do?  I don't see it used anywhere.

> fin=open(infile,"")

There should be an "r" inside those quotes.  In fact this is an error
and it will stop your program from running.

> fout = open(outfile,"w+")

What is the "+" supposed to do?

> for line in fin:
>     for word in delete_list:
>         line.replace(word, "")

replace() returns the modified string; it does not alter the existing

Do this instead:

  line = line.replace(word, "")

>     fout.write(line)
> fin.close()
> fout.close()

> I have put the code above in a file. When I execute it, I dont see the
> result file. I am not sure what the error is. Please let me know what
> I am doing wrong.

When you say you don't see the result file, do you mean it doesn't get
created at all?

John Gordon                   A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs
gordon at              B is for Basil, assaulted by bears
                                -- Edward Gorey, "The Gashlycrumb Tinies"

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