Python string prints as [u'String']


This will surely be an easy one but it is really bugging me.

I have a script that reads in a webpage and uses Beautiful Soup to parse it. From the soup I extract all the links as my final goal is to print out the link.contents.

All of the text that I am parsing is ASCII. I know that Python treats strings as unicode, and I am sure this is very handy, just of no use in my wee script.

Every time I go to print out a variable that holds ‘String’ I get [u'String'] printed to the screen. Is there a simple way of getting this back into just ascii or should I write a regex to strip it?

Asked By: gnuchu



Do you really mean u'String'?

In any event, can’t you just do str(string) to get a string rather than a unicode-string? (This should be different for Python 3, for which all strings are unicode.)

Answered By: Andrew Jaffe

Use dir or type on the ‘string’ to find out what it is. I suspect that it’s one of BeautifulSoup’s tag objects, that prints like a string, but really isn’t one. Otherwise, its inside a list and you need to convert each string separately.

In any case, why are you objecting to using Unicode? Any specific reason?

Answered By: sykora

[u'ABC'] would be a one-element list of unicode strings. Beautiful Soup always produces Unicode. So you need to convert the list to a single unicode string, and then convert that to ASCII.

I don’t know exaxtly how you got the one-element lists; the contents member would be a list of strings and tags, which is apparently not what you have. Assuming that you really always get a list with a single element, and that your test is really only ASCII you would use this:


However, please double-check that your data is really ASCII. This is pretty rare. Much more likely it’s latin-1 or utf-8.



Or you ask Beautiful Soup what the original encoding was and get it back in this encoding:

Answered By: oefe

You probably have a list containing one unicode string. The repr of this is [u'String'].

You can convert this to a list of byte strings using any variation of the following:

# Functional style.
print map(lambda x: x.encode('ascii'), my_list)

# List comprehension.
print [x.encode('ascii') for x in my_list]

# Interesting if my_list may be a tuple or a string.
print type(my_list)(x.encode('ascii') for x in my_list)

# What do I care about the brackets anyway?
print ', '.join(repr(x.encode('ascii')) for x in my_list)

# That's actually not a good way of doing it.
print ' '.join(repr(x).lstrip('u')[1:-1] for x in my_list)
Answered By: ddaa

If accessing/printing single element lists (e.g., sequentially or filtered):

my_list = [u'String'] # sample element
my_list = [str(my_list[0])]
Answered By: gevang

pass the output to str() function and it will remove the unicode output u”.
also by printing the output it will remove the u” tags from it.

Answered By: waweru

encode("latin-1") helped me in my case:

Answered By: user1519904

[u'String'] is a text representation of a list that contains a Unicode string on Python 2.

If you run print(some_list) then it is equivalent to
print'[%s]' % ', '.join(map(repr, some_list)) i.e., to create a text representation of a Python object with the type list, repr() function is called for each item.

Don’t confuse a Python object and its text representationrepr('a') != 'a' and even the text representation of the text representation differs: repr(repr('a')) != repr('a').

repr(obj) returns a string that contains a printable representation of an object. Its purpose is to be an unambiguous representation of an object that can be useful for debugging, in a REPL. Often eval(repr(obj)) == obj.

To avoid calling repr(), you could print list items directly (if they are all Unicode strings) e.g.: print ",".join(some_list)—it prints a comma separated list of the strings: String

Do not encode a Unicode string to bytes using a hardcoded character encoding, print Unicode directly instead. Otherwise, the code may fail because the encoding can’t represent all the characters e.g., if you try to use 'ascii' encoding with non-ascii characters. Or the code silently produces mojibake (corrupted data is passed further in a pipeline) if the environment uses an encoding that is incompatible with the hardcoded encoding.

Answered By: jfs
import json, ast
r = {u'name': u'A', u'primary_key': 1}

will print

{'name': 'A', 'primary_key': 1}
Answered By: osmjit
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