Why does "return list.sort()" return None, not the list?


I've been able to verify that the findUniqueWords does result in a sorted list. However, it does not return the list. Why?

def findUniqueWords(theList):
    newList = []
    words = []

    # Read a line at a time
    for item in theList:

        # Remove any punctuation from the line
        cleaned = cleanUp(item)

        # Split the line into separate words
        words = cleaned.split()

        # Evaluate each word
        for word in words:

            # Count each unique word
            if word not in newList:

    answer = newList.sort()
    return answer

This question is tagged with python list sorting return

~ Asked on 2011-09-04 17:58:28

The Best Answer is


list.sort sorts the list in place, i.e. it doesn't return a new list. Just write

return newList

~ Answered on 2011-09-04 18:00:31


The problem is here:

answer = newList.sort()

sort does not return the sorted list; rather, it sorts the list in place.


answer = sorted(newList)

~ Answered on 2011-09-04 18:00:51

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