In this tutorial, we will learn how to sum a list in Python using various methods. The sum of the list is defined as the total of all the elements present in the list.

Python provides a simple built-in function **sum()** which can be used to calculate the sum of a list. We will also look into alternative ways of computing the sum of a list with other approaches, such as using a **for loop**, **while loop**, and **recursion**. Let’s dive into it!

### Using the built-in sum() function

Python provides a built-in function called **sum()** that is used to sum the elements of an iterable (list, tuple, etc.). This method is efficient and recommended for finding the sum of a list. Below is the code snippet that shows how to use the **sum()** function.

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my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] total = sum(my_list) print("Sum of the list:", total) |

## Output:

Sum of the list: 15

### Using a for loop

If you prefer a more manual approach, you can use a **for loop** to iterate through the list and add the elements one by one. Here’s how:

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my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] total = 0 for element in my_list: total += element print("Sum of the list:", total) |

## Output:

Sum of the list: 15

### Using a while loop

Another approach to iterate through the list and calculate its sum is using a **while loop**:

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my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] total = 0 index = 0 while index < len(my_list): total += my_list[index] index += 1 print("Sum of the list:", total) |

## Output:

Sum of the list: 15

### Using recursion

You can also calculate the sum of a list using **recursion**, a technique where a function calls itself with an updated argument until a base case is reached. Here’s a code snippet that demonstrates how to do this:

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def list_sum(my_list): if len(my_list) == 1: return my_list[0] else: return my_list[0] + list_sum(my_list[1:]) my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] total = list_sum(my_list) print("Sum of the list:", total) |

## Output:

Sum of the list: 15

## Full Code

Here’s the full code of all the methods discussed above:

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# Using the sum() function my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] total = sum(my_list) print("Sum of the list (sum function):", total) # Using a for loop total = 0 for element in my_list: total += element print("Sum of the list (for loop):", total) # Using a while loop total = 0 index = 0 while index < len(my_list): total += my_list[index] index += 1 print("Sum of the list (while loop):", total) # Using recursion def list_sum(my_list): if len(my_list) == 1: return my_list[0] else: return my_list[0] + list_sum(my_list[1:]) total = list_sum(my_list) print("Sum of the list (recursion):", total) |

## Output:

Sum of the list (sum function): 15 Sum of the list (for loop): 15 Sum of the list (while loop): 15 Sum of the list (recursion): 15

## Conclusion

In this tutorial, we discussed various methods to sum a list in Python, including the built-in **sum()** function, **for loop**, **while loop**, and **recursion**. The built-in sum() function is the most efficient and recommended method to calculate the sum of a list. However, understanding alternative approaches is helpful in improving your Python programming skills and problem-solving abilities.