A Guide to Writing Comments in Python

A Guide to Writing Comments in Python

In this tutorial, we describe how, when and why to use comments in Python. We cover Single-line, Multi-line, and Docstring comments.

What is a Comment?

In simple terms, a comment is an entry added to the source code to allow a deeper understanding of the logic behind why the code was written the way it was. In Python, the ‘#’ or pound symbol is required before every comment. This symbol allows the Python interpreter or compiler to ignore the pursuant text. 

Why are Comments Needed?

When working in a large codebase, a developer may need to refer back to the information in comments weeks or months later to ensure that they understand the code’s original purpose. This information is necessary for the original idea’s formal logic aspect and is an essential criterion when working with other developers on an extensive project. 

Developers who review and/or follow up to revise a code section often rely heavily on the comments to recognize and follow the original developer’s thought processes. In this way, successive developers can add, edit, or modify the annotation to adjust the understanding or reasoning of further updates if the code changes. 

Comment Conventions

The default Python library requires lines of code to be no longer than 79 characters. This provision is different for comments, which is 72 characters. If a comment stretches beyond the 72 character docstring limit, the dev should add a second line beginning with the ‘#’ symbol. More than one line is often needed to explain the reasoning behind how or why a developer wrote the code.

When a comment is added, it should be written in complete sentences. It should also concisely express a simple idea to limit the explanation’s focus only to the section of code requiring clarification.

Typically, a dev should capitalize the first word of a comment. If it is used as an identifier, the initial term should begin with a lowercase letter.

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