In this exercise, the task is to write a function that picks a random word from a list of words from the SOWPODS dictionary. Download this file and save it in the same directory as your Python code. This file is Peter Norvig’s compilation of the dictionary of words used in professional Scrabble tournaments. Each line in the file contains a single word.
Hint: use the Python
random library for picking a random word.
SOWPODS is a word list commonly used in word puzzles and games (like Scrabble for example). It is the combination of the Scrabble Player’s Dictionary and the Chamber’s Dictionary. (The history of SOWPODS is quite interesting, I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article if you are curious.)
In previous exercises, we have covered all the necessary skills needed to complete this exercise. Check out:
The Python way of reading a file from disk is to use the
with construction together with a
filename.txt should be in the same directory as your Python script.
The idea behind the
with construction is that it isolates any variables defined in the
with line from the rest of your code. When you are dealing with files, this means properly opening and closing the files. The
open line in the
with statement actually does the opening of the file and saves the file object in the variable
'r' passed into the
open() function tells Python “open the file for reading”. If the
'w' argument is passed instead, Python will interpret this as “open the file and allow writing to it.”
After all the code inside the
with block is finished, the file
f is properly closed by Python. So by the time the program starts executing the
One thing to remember when reading lines from a file in this way is that a line contains a
\n, or a newline character at the end. So before processing the line, it is usually a good idea to use
.strip() to remove the newlines and spaces from the start and end of the lines, like so:
There are many ways of reading lines from files. If for example you want to read all the lines of the file into a list, you can use the following variant:
At the end of this code, the variable
lines will have all the elements from the file in a Python list.
Here are a few references about opening files, if you would like to read more:
random library is used to do operations with random numbers. For a list of the full methods available in the
random library, check the Python 3 documentation of the random library.
The two methods that might be useful for this exercise are
random.randint(). The documentation is easy to read, so check out the docs for how these methods work!
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