Python not finding common element in lists

I'm building a program in Python 3 that needs to go through two lists and count how many times the elements of the first list appear in the second. However, even if I plug in two lists that are hard-coded to have common elements, Python says the list doesn't have any common elements.

Here's a minimal, runnable version of my program:

strings = ["I sell","seashells","by the","seashore"]
ngramSet = ["by the"]
for ngram in ngramSet:
    print("Ngram: \"" + str(ngram) + "\"")
    # Should return "by the" twice where it appears twice.
    occurrences = [element for element in strings if element is ngram]
    print("Occurrences: " + str(occurrences))
    count = len(occurrences)
    print("Number of times N-gram appears in string" + str(count))


Ngram: "by the"
Occurrences: []
Number of times N-gram appears in string0

4 answers

  • answered 2018-08-09 00:04 Ben

    collections.Counter was made for this!

    import collections
    strings = ["I sell","seashells","by the","seashore"]
    ngramSet = ["by the"]
    strings_counter = collections.Counter(strings)
    for string in ngramSet:
        print(string, strings_counter[string])

  • answered 2018-08-09 00:07 mckuok

    Your approach is correct. The only problem is within your lambda, where you compare the two strings using is. You should be comparing them using == because you are doing equality comparison.

  • answered 2018-08-09 00:12 juliusmh

    You can make it very short and clear, there are multiple ways but here is one:

    strings = ["I sell","seashells","by the","seashore"]
    ngramSet = ["by the"]
    # Built in count function
    for x in ngramSet:
            print (x, " -> ", strings.count(x))
    # Or make it a one-liner
    print ([(arg, strings.count(arg)) for arg in ngramSet])

    Or you could simply use your code because it seems to be working for me.

  • answered 2018-08-09 00:22 ᴡʜᴀᴄᴋᴀᴍᴀᴅᴏᴏᴅʟᴇ3000

    If you just want to get common elements, then try sets: