How to delete the words between two delimiters?


I have a noisy data..something like

<@ """@$ FSDF >something something <more noise>

Now I just want to extract "something something".
Is there a way on how to delete the text between those two delimiters "<" and ">"?

Asked By: frazman



Use regular expressions:

>>> import re
>>> s = '<@ """@$ FSDF >something something <more noise>'
>>> re.sub('<[^>]+>', '', s)
'something something '


If you tried a pattern like <.+>, where the dot means any character and the plus sign means one or more, you know it does not work.

>>> re.sub(r'<.+>', s, '')

Why!?! It happens because regular expressions are “greedy” by default. The expression will match anything until the end of the string, including the > – and this is not what we want. We want to match < and stop on the next >, so we use the [^x] pattern which means “any character but x” (x being >).

The ? operator turns the match “non-greedy”, so this has the same effect:

>>> re.sub(r'<.+?>', '', s)
'something something '

The previous is more explicit, this one is less typing; be aware that x? means zero or one occurrence of x.

Answered By: Paulo Scardine

Of course, you can use regular expressions.

import re
s = #your string here
t = re.sub('<.*?>', '', s)

The above code should do it.

Answered By: Sufian Latif
import re
my_str = '<@ """@$ FSDF >something something <more noise>'
re.sub('<.*?>', '', my_str)
'something something '

The re.sub function takes a regular expresion and replace all the matches in the string with the second parameter. In this case, we are searching for all characters between < and > ('<.*?>') and replacing them with nothing ('').

The ? is used in re for non-greedy searches.

More about the re module.

If that “noises” are actually html tags, I suggest you to look into BeautifulSoup

Answered By: juliomalegria

Just for interest, you could write some code such as:

with open('blah.txt','w') as f:

def filter_line(line):
    for c in line:
        if c==">" and count==1:
        if not ignore:
        if c=="<" and count==0:
    return "".join(result)

with open('blah.txt') as f:
    print "".join(map(filter_line,f.readlines()))

Answered By: Rusty Rob

First thank you Paulo Scardine, I used your re to do great thing. The idea was to have tag free LibreOffice po file for printing purposes. And I made the following script which will clean the help file for smaller and easier ones.

import re
f = open('a.csv')
text =

clean = re.sub('<[^>]+>', ' ', text)

f = open('b.csv', 'w')
Answered By: user1993440
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