The bool function in Python

Python’s built-in bool¬† function comes in pretty handy for checking the truth and falsity of¬†different types of values.

First, let’s take a look at how True and False are represented in the language.

True and False are numeric values

In Python internals, True is stored as a 1 and False is stored as a 0. They can be used in numeric expressions, like so:

They can even be compared to their internal representation successfully.

However, this is just a numeric comparison, not a check of truthiness, so the following comparison returns False:

bool to the rescue

The number 5 would normally be considered to be a truthy value. To get at its inherent truthiness, we can run it through the bool function.

The following are always considered false:

  • None
  • False
  • Any numeric zero: 0, 0.0, 0j
  • Empty sequences: "", (), []
  • Empty dictionaries: {}
  • Classes with __bool__() or __len__() functions that return False or 0.

Everything else is considered true.

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