Python Basics: Understanding Identifiers In Python

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In Python, an identifier denotes identities such as a class, function, variable, module, or any other object. It helps to make your code easier to read and understand by providing descriptive names for things and data.

Identifiers begin with a letter or an underscore and consist of letters, digits, and underscores. It cannot start with a number. One can mistakenly think that variables and identifiers are to be the same sometimes; however, they are separate.

Identifiers In Python: Definition

Identifiers in Python can store data that one can reference later in their code. For example, you can create a variable “name” and assign it the value “John”, and later use the “name” identifier to refer to the value “John”. You can also use Identifiers to define functions and classes to perform specific actions or store data. In Python, you can also use the “global” keyword to make an identifier accessible from anywhere in your code.

Identifiers In Python

Identifiers can be of any length, but keeping them meaningful and descriptive is recommended rather than using short or ambiguous names. In Python, you can use any identifier name if it does not clash with a reserved word or an already-existing identifier. Using meaningful and descriptive names for identifiers is a good practice, as it makes your code easier to read and maintain. For instance, it is preferable to name a variable “page” or “student page” rather than “y.” 

Important Points To Keep In Mind

  1. It is important to note that Python is case-sensitive. Python considers “myVariable” and “variable” as two different identifiers. This is why you should use meaningful and descriptive names for your identifiers. It makes your code easier to read and maintain. Python reserves several words, and you cannot use them as identifiers. Examples of reserved terms include “and,” “or,” “if,” “else,” “while,” “for,” “def,” “class,” “import,” “as,” etc.identifiers
  2. Python supports Unicode characters in identifiers, but it is not recommended to use them, as it can make the code difficult to read and understand. Python also supports two different naming conventions for identifiers, ‘snake_case,’ and camelCase. Snake case uses underscores to separate words (e.g., my_variable), while camel case capitalizes the first letter of each word except the first word (e.g., myVariable).
  3. It is also important to note that you can dynamically assign values to identifiers in Python, meaning you can change the value of an identifier at any time during the execution of your code. This makes Python a very flexible language and allows you to manipulate and change data in your code easily. You can also use the “del” keyword in Python to delete an identifier and free up memory.

Importance Of Identifiers In Python

The importance of identifiers in Python can be seen in several key areas. For a start, identifiers make the code simpler to read and comprehend. When you use meaningful and descriptive names for your identifiers, it becomes much easier for other programmers to understand your code.

Identifiers In Python

Secondly, identifiers help to make your code easier to maintain. Using descriptive names for your identifiers makes finding and fixing bugs in your code more manageable. This can save much more time than locating a variable with a short and ambiguous name.

Thirdly, identifiers are also crucial for code reuse. When you write a function or a class, you can use meaningful and descriptive words for your identifiers. It makes it easier for other programmers to understand what the process or type does and makes it more likely that other programmers will be able to reuse your code in their projects. This can help them to save time and increase productivity.

See also: How To Import A Class From Another File In Python?


In Python, how long may an identifier be?

In Python, an identifier can be up to 79 characters long. One of the most widely used programming languages is Python. It was produced by Guido van Rossum and made available in 1991.

Are case-sensitive identifiers used in Python?

Yes, the programming language Python is case-sensitive. This indicates that it treats letters in uppercase and lowercase differently. As a result, we cannot interchangeably employ two phrases with the same characters but distinct cases in Python.

Is Python's identity necessary?

Every Python object that is kept in memory has a specific identification number assigned to it. This helps the Python compiler run faster and use memory more effectively. Since each object has a distinct numerical identity, it can be distinguished from other objects.

What is the identifier's validity?

Letters (including capital and lowercase letters), numbers, and underscores are all acceptable forms of identification. An identifier's initial letter should either be a letter or an underscore. Keywords like 'int' and 'while' cannot be used as identifiers. There is no restriction on the length of an identifier.

What cannot be used in Python as an identifier?

A keyword in Python is a reserved term that is built-in to the language; as a result, a keyword cannot be used as an identifier since it has a specific meaning. Identifying symbols such as!, @, #, $,%, etc. are not permitted. Python IDs are not limited to only numbers.

Do identifiers take the case into account?

It is recommended that all identifiers specified in the same scope be unique. You can combine lowercase letters (a–z), capital letters (A–Z), numerals (0–9), and underscore characters (_) when naming identifiers. Python treats cases differently when naming identifiers.


In conclusion, identifiers are an essential part of Python programming. They are crucial in naming your code’s objects, variables, functions, classes, and other elements. Choosing meaningful and descriptive names for your identifiers is essential, as it makes your code easier to read and maintain. The article widely discusses the naming convention for identifiers in Python.

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There are different opinions on the best way to name your identifiers. However, maintaining relevant and illustrative identifier names may make your code more readable and maintainable. It also simplifies others to comprehend and work with your code. 

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