How do I count the number of occurrences of a character in a string?

e.g. 'a' appears in 'Mary had a little lamb' 4 times.

Solution 1

str.count(sub[, start[, end]])

Return the number of non-overlapping occurrences of substring sub in the range [start, end]. Optional arguments start and end are interpreted as in slice notation.

>>> sentence = 'Mary had a little lamb'
>>> sentence.count('a')

Solution 2

You can use .count() :

>>> 'Mary had a little lamb'.count('a')

Solution 3

To get the counts of all letters, use collections.Counter:

>>> from collections import Counter
>>> counter = Counter("Mary had a little lamb")
>>> counter['a']

Solution 4

Regular expressions maybe?

import re
my_string = "Mary had a little lamb"
len(re.findall("a", my_string))

Solution 5



str.count(sub[, start[, end]])

Return the number of non-overlapping occurrences of substring sub in the range [start, end]. Optional arguments start and end are interpreted as in slice notation.

Solution 6


more info here

Solution 7

str.count(a) is the best solution to count a single character in a string. But if you need to count more characters you would have to read the whole string as many times as characters you want to count.

A better approach for this job would be:

from collections import defaultdict

text = 'Mary had a little lamb'
chars = defaultdict(int)

for char in text:
    chars[char] += 1

So you'll have a dict that returns the number of occurrences of every letter in the string and 0 if it isn't present.


For a case insensitive counter you could override the mutator and accessor methods by subclassing defaultdict (base class' ones are read-only):

class CICounter(defaultdict):
    def __getitem__(self, k):
        return super().__getitem__(k.lower())

    def __setitem__(self, k, v):
        super().__setitem__(k.lower(), v)

chars = CICounter(int)

for char in text:
    chars[char] += 1


Solution 8

This easy and straight forward function might help:

def check_freq(x):
    freq = {}
    for c in set(x):
       freq[c] = x.count(c)
    return freq

{'a': 7, 'b': 14, 'c': 3, 'd': 3}

If a comprehension is desired:

def check_freq(x):
    return {c: x.count(c) for c in set(x)}

Solution 9

Regular expressions are very useful if you want case-insensitivity (and of course all the power of regex).

my_string = "Mary had a little lamb"
# simplest solution, using count, is case-sensitive
my_string.count("m")   # yields 1
import re
# case-sensitive with regex
len(re.findall("m", my_string))
# three ways to get case insensitivity - all yield 2
len(re.findall("(?i)m", my_string))
len(re.findall("m|M", my_string))
len(re.findall(re.compile("m",re.IGNORECASE), my_string))

Be aware that the regex version takes on the order of ten times as long to run, which will likely be an issue only if my_string is tremendously long, or the code is inside a deep loop.

Solution 10

I don't know about 'simplest' but simple comprehension could do:

>>> my_string = "Mary had a little lamb"
>>> sum(char == 'a' for char in my_string)

Taking advantage of built-in sum, generator comprehension and fact that bool is subclass of integer: how may times character is equal to 'a'.

Solution 11

a = 'have a nice day'
symbol = 'abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz'
for key in symbol:
    print(key, a.count(key))

Solution 12

I am a fan of the pandas library, in particular the value_counts() method. You could use it to count the occurrence of each character in your string:

>>> import pandas as pd
>>> phrase = "I love the pandas library and its `value_counts()` method"
>>> pd.Series(list(phrase)).value_counts()
a    5
e    4
t    4
o    3
n    3
s    3
d    3
l    3
u    2
i    2
r    2
v    2
`    2
h    2
p    1
b    1
I    1
m    1
(    1
y    1
_    1
)    1
c    1
dtype: int64

Solution 13

count is definitely the most concise and efficient way of counting the occurrence of a character in a string but I tried to come up with a solution using lambda, something like this :

sentence = 'Mary had a little lamb'
sum(map(lambda x : 1 if 'a' in x else 0, sentence))

This will result in :


Also, there is one more advantage to this is if the sentence is a list of sub-strings containing same characters as above, then also this gives the correct result because of the use of in. Have a look :

sentence = ['M', 'ar', 'y', 'had', 'a', 'little', 'l', 'am', 'b']
sum(map(lambda x : 1 if 'a' in x else 0, sentence))

This also results in :


But Of-course this will work only when checking occurrence of single character such as 'a' in this particular case.

Solution 14

An alternative way to get all the character counts without using Counter(), count and regex

counts_dict = {}
for c in list(sentence):
  if c not in counts_dict:
    counts_dict[c] = 0
  counts_dict[c] += 1

for key, value in counts_dict.items():
    print(key, value)

Solution 15

a = "I walked today,"
for i in a:
    if str(i) in c:


Solution 16

I know the ask is to count a particular letter. I am writing here generic code without using any method.

sentence1 =" Mary had a little lamb"
count = {}
for i in sentence1:
    if i in count:
        count[i.lower()] = count[i.lower()] + 1
        count[i.lower()] = 1


{' ': 5, 'm': 2, 'a': 4, 'r': 1, 'y': 1, 'h': 1, 'd': 1, 'l': 3, 'i': 1, 't': 2, 'e': 1, 'b': 1}

Now if you want any particular letter frequency, you can print like below.


Solution 17

To find the occurrence of characters in a sentence you may use the below code

Firstly, I have taken out the unique characters from the sentence and then I counted the occurrence of each character in the sentence these includes the occurrence of blank space too.

ab = set("Mary had a little lamb")

test_str = "Mary had a little lamb"

for i in ab:
  counter = test_str.count(i)
  if i == ' ':
    i = 'Space'
  print(counter, i)

Output of the above code is below.

1 : r ,
1 : h ,
1 : e ,
1 : M ,
4 : a ,
1 : b ,
1 : d ,
2 : t ,
3 : l ,
1 : i ,
4 : Space ,
1 : y ,
1 : m ,

Solution 18

"Without using count to find you want character in string" method.

import re

def count(s, ch):


def main():

   s = raw_input ("Enter strings what you like, for example, 'welcome': ")  

   ch = raw_input ("Enter you want count characters, but best result to find one character: " )

   print ( len (re.findall ( ch, s ) ) )


Solution 19

Python 3

Ther are two ways to achieve this:

1) With built-in function count()

sentence = 'Mary had a little lamb'

2) Without using a function

sentence = 'Mary had a little lamb'    
count = 0

for i in sentence:
    if i == "a":
        count = count + 1


Solution 20

the easiest way is to code in one line:

'Mary had a little lamb'.count("a")

but if you want can use this too:

sentence ='Mary had a little lamb'
    for letter in sentence :
        if letter=="a":
    print (count)

Solution 21

str = "count a character occurence"

List = list(str)
print (List)
Uniq = set(List)
print (Uniq)

for key in Uniq:
    print (key, str.count(key))

Solution 22

Taking up a comment of this user:

import numpy as np
sample = 'samplestring'
np.unique(list(sample), return_counts=True)


(array(['a', 'e', 'g', 'i', 'l', 'm', 'n', 'p', 'r', 's', 't'], dtype='<U1'),
 array([1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 1]))

Check 's'. You can filter this tuple of two arrays as follows:


Side-note: It works like Counter() of the collections package, just in numpy, which you often import anyway. You could as well count the unique words in a list of words instead.

Solution 23

No more than this IMHO - you can add the upper or lower methods

def count_letter_in_str(string,letter):
    return string.count(letter)

Solution 24

You can use loop and dictionary.

def count_letter(text):
    result = {}
    for letter in text:
        if letter not in result:
            result[letter] = 0
        result[letter] += 1
    return result

Solution 25

spam = 'have a nice day'
var = 'd'

def count(spam, var):
    found = 0
    for key in spam:
        if key == var:
            found += 1
    return found
count(spam, var)
print 'count %s is: %s ' %(var, count(spam, var))