[Tutor] Re: problem writing random_word function

Karl Pflästerer) sigurd at 12move.de
Mon Jul 19 20:11:16 CEST 2004

On 19 Jul 2004, Matt Smith <- smith-matt at tiscali.co.uk wrote:

> Thanks Lloyd,
> I've rewritten the function as below and everything seems to work
> correctly.

> def random_word(word_length):
>     """Returns a random word of length word_length"""
>     import random
>     f = open("hangman_words.txt","r")
>     word_list = []
>     while 1:
>         word = f.readline()
>         word = word.strip()
>         if word == "":
>             break
>         elif len(word) == word_length:
>             word_list = word_list + [word]
>     f.close()
>     return word_list[random.randint(0,(len(word_list)-1))]

That function works but you could improve it a bit.
First: don't import modules in functions.  That may lead to dead locks.

Second: you could write the above shorter and more pythonlike without
the wile loop.

Third: You mustn't forget that there may be no mathing word in your

Fourth: don't hardwire the name of the file.

import random
def random_word (length, data="hangman_words.txt"):
    f = file(data)
    wordlist = [word for word in f if len(word.strip()) == length]
    if len(wordlist) > 0:
        return wordlist[random.randrange(0, len(wordlist))].strip()

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