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What does the * symbol do in the return statement of a Python function?
In a Python function, the * symbol in the return statement is used to return multiple values as a tuple. This is known as tuple packing.
For example, consider the following function that takes two arguments and returns their sum and difference:
def sum_and_difference(a, b): return a+b, a-b
In this function, the return statement returns two values a+b and a-b separated by a comma. This means that the values will be returned as a tuple, and the tuple will be unpacked into two separate variables when the function is called:
result = sum_and_difference(5, 3) print(result) # Output: (8, 2) sum, diff = sum_and_difference(5, 3) print(sum) # Output: 8 print(diff) # Output: 2
In the second example, the returned tuple is automatically unpacked into the variables sum and diff.
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