Insert variable into text search string

Jussi Piitulainen jpiitula at
Wed Feb 19 20:59:39 CET 2014

Kevin Glover writes:

> These two lines are from a program that carries out a phrase search
> of Wikipedia and returns the total number of times that the specific
> phrase occurs. It is essential that the search contains an
> apostrophe:
> results ="\"of the cat's\"", type=ALL, start=1, count=1)
> print
> I want to replace the word "cat" with a variable, e.g.
> q = "cat"
> so that I can generate the same search format for a list of
> different words. How do I format the search string to include the
> variable, please? I am using Python 2.7.

Format is the right word: look up the .format method of strings.

   >>> '''"of the {q}'s"'''.format(q='kangaroo')
   '"of the kangaroo\'s"'

That's with Python 2.7.3. An older mechanism uses the percent sign for
place holders and as an operator.

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