Creating a Dictionary

Creating a Dictionary in Python: Understanding the Basics

If you are a programmer, you must be familiar with dictionaries in Python. A dictionary is an unordered collection of elements that are stored as a key-value pair. The keys are unique and are used to access the associated values. Creating a dictionary in Python is a simple yet important task for any programmer. In this article, we will discuss the basics of creating a dictionary in Python and some examples of how to use them.

Basics of Dictionaries in Python

Dictionary objects in Python are mutable, which means that they can be changed in place. They are created using curly braces and are written as a comma-separated list of key-value pairs. The keys are separated from the values by a colon (:). Let’s take a look at the syntax of a dictionary in Python:

dictionary = {key1:value1, key2:value2, key3:value3, ...}

Here, the keys can be any immutable data type such as a string, integer, or tuple. The values can be any data type, including lists, tuples, and even other dictionaries. The elements in a dictionary can be accessed using their respective keys.

Creating a Dictionary in Python

To create a dictionary in Python, we can use the curly braces as mentioned above. Let’s see an example of creating a dictionary that contains some student details:

students = {"John": 24, "Jessica": 23, "Kyle": 22}

In this example, “John”, “Jessica”, and “Kyle” are the keys, and 24, 23, and 22 are the respective values. We can also create an empty dictionary and add elements to it later:

students = {} # an empty dictionary
students["John"] = 24
students["Jessica"] = 23
students["Kyle"] = 22

In this method, we create an empty dictionary and add the elements one by one using the key-value pair.

Accessing and Modifying Dictionary Elements

We can access the elements of a dictionary using the respective keys. Let’s see an example:

students = {"John": 24, "Jessica": 23, "Kyle": 22}
# Output: 24

Here, we are accessing the value associated with the key “John” using the brackets notation. We can also use the get() method to access the values:

students = {"John": 24, "Jessica": 23, "Kyle": 22}
# Output: 23

The difference between using the brackets notation and the get() method is that if the key does not exist, the brackets notation will raise a KeyError, while the get() method will return None. We can also modify the values of a key using the following method:

students = {"John": 24, "Jessica": 23, "Kyle": 22}
students["John"] = 25
# Output: 25

Here, we are modifying the value associated with the key “John” by assigning it a new value.


In this article, we learned about the basics of creating dictionaries in Python, accessing and modifying elements of a dictionary. Dictionaries are an important data structure in Python, and knowing how to create and manipulate them is essential for any programmer. With this knowledge, you can create powerful programs that can handle large amounts of data, and make your code more efficient and readable.

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