The `return` in Python: Understanding the Essence of the `return` Statement

In Python programming, functions are reusable blocks of code used to perform specific tasks. To make functions more flexible and powerful, the return statement is introduced. In this article, we'll focus on the return statement in Python, exploring from its basic usage to more advanced applications, all explained in English.

Basics of the return Statement

In Python, functions encapsulate a series of operations. However, to use the results or calculations performed in other parts of the code, the return statement is necessary. Here's a basic example of its usage:

def add_numbers(a, b):
    result = a + b
    return result

# Function call and using the result of the `return` statement
result_sum = add_numbers(3, 5)
print(f"The sum is: {result_sum}")

In this example, the add_numbers function takes two arguments a and b, adds these values, and returns the result with the return statement. Subsequently, the result of the function call is assigned to the variable result_sum and is printed.

Returning Multiple Values

The return statement can return multiple values, allowing a function to provide several results.

def calculate_statistics(numbers):
    total = sum(numbers)
    average = total / len(numbers)
    return total, average

# Function call and assigning the results to variables
numbers_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
result_total, result_average = calculate_statistics(numbers_list)
print(f"Total: {result_total}, Average: {result_average}")

In this example, the calculate_statistics function calculates the sum and average of a list of numbers and returns both results as a tuple.

The return Statement and Control Structures

The return statement terminates the execution of a function and returns a value. Therefore, after the return statement is executed, the subsequent code will not be executed. Understanding this is fundamental to comprehend control structures inside a function.

def check_even_odd(number):
    if number % 2 == 0:
        return "Even"
        return "Odd"

# Function call and displaying the result
result = check_even_odd(7)
print(f"The result is: {result}")

In this example, the check_even_odd function determines whether a number is even or odd and returns the result with the return statement. Once the return statement is executed, the code inside the function stops.

Understanding None

Functions that have no return statement or have a return statement without a specific value return None. None is a special value in Python representing the absence of something or the lack of a value.

def simple_function():

result = simple_function()
print(f"The result is: {result}")

In this example, the simple_function has no return statement with a specific value, so it returns None.

The return Statement and Error Handling

In situations where an error occurs inside a function, the return statement can be used to return an error message.

def divide_numbers(a, b):
        result = a / b
        return result
    except ZeroDivisionError:
        return "Error: Division by zero is not allowed"

# Function call and error handling
result_division = divide_numbers(10, 0)
print(f"The result is: {result_division}")

In this example, the divide_numbers function attempts to perform a division, and if a division by zero error occurs, it returns an error message.


The return statement is a crucial element for Python functions to return results. In this article, we've explored from basic usage to more advanced applications, such as returning multiple values, flow control, and error handling. Understanding these concepts will enable designing more effective functions in Python, enhancing the ability to write flexible and reusable code.