Understanding Python Functions: A Comprehensive Guide —

Codes With Pankaj
4 min readJan 3, 2024


Functions are a fundamental concept in programming, and Python, being a versatile and widely-used programming language, offers a rich set of features for working with functions. In this article, we’ll explore Python functions in depth, covering their definition, syntax, arguments, return values, scope, and advanced concepts.

Basics of Python Functions

1. Function Definition

In Python, a function is a block of reusable code that performs a specific task. You define a function using the def keyword, followed by the function name and a pair of parentheses. The function body is indented below the definition.

def greet():
print("Hello, codeswithpankaj!")

2. Function Invocation

After defining a function, you can call or invoke it using its name followed by parentheses.


This would output:

Hello, codeswithpankaj!

3. Function Parameters

Functions can take parameters (inputs) to make them more flexible. Parameters are specified within the parentheses during the function definition.

def greet_person(name):
print("Hello, " + name + "!")

You can then pass arguments to the function when calling it:


Example :

def greet_with_code(name, code):
print(f"Hello, {name}! Your code, {code}, is awesome!")

# Example usage
name = "codeswithpankaj"
code = "123ABC"
greet_with_code(name, code)

4. Return Values

Functions can return values using the return statement. This allows the function to produce a result that can be used elsewhere in your code.

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

You can capture the result when calling the function:

result = add_numbers(5, 3)
print(result) # Output: 8

Advanced Function Concepts

1. Default Values

You can provide default values for function parameters. This allows the function to be called with fewer arguments, using the default values for any omitted parameters.

def greet_with_message(name, message="Good day!"):
print("Hello, " + name + ". " + message)

Now, you can call the function with or without providing a custom message:

# Output: Hello, Bob. Good day!

greet_with_message("Alice", "How are you?")
# Output: Hello, Alice. How are you?

2. Variable Scope

Variables defined inside a function have local scope, meaning they are only accessible within that function. Variables defined outside any function have global scope.

global_variable = "I am global"

def local_scope_function():
local_variable = "I am local"
print(global_variable) # Accessing global variable
print(local_variable) # Accessing local variable


# This would raise an error since local_variable is not accessible here
# print(local_variable)

3. Lambda Functions

Lambda functions, also known as anonymous functions, are concise one-liners. They are defined using the lambda keyword.

multiply = lambda x, y: x * y
print(multiply(3, 4)) # Output: 12

Lambda functions are often used for short-lived, small operations.

4. Recursive Functions

A function can call itself, which is known as recursion. This technique is particularly useful for solving problems that can be broken down into simpler, similar subproblems.

def factorial(n):
if n == 0 or n == 1:
return 1
return n * factorial(n - 1)

5. Decorators

Decorators are a powerful and advanced feature in Python. They allow you to modify or extend the behavior of functions without changing their code. Decorators are defined using the @decorator syntax.

def uppercase_decorator(func):
def wrapper(*args, **kwargs):
result = func(*args, **kwargs)
return result.upper()
return wrapper

def greet():
return "hello, world!"

print(greet()) # Output: HELLO, WORLD!

Example : GST Calculator use function

def calculate_gst(original_amount, gst_rate):
Calculate the total amount including GST.

- original_amount (float): The original amount before GST.
- gst_rate (float): The GST rate as a percentage.

float: The total amount including GST.
gst_amount = (original_amount * gst_rate) / 100
total_amount = original_amount + gst_amount
return total_amount

def main():
# Example usage
original_amount = float(input("Enter the original amount: "))
gst_rate = float(input("Enter the GST rate (%): "))

total_amount = calculate_gst(original_amount, gst_rate)

print(f"Original Amount: ${original_amount:.2f}")
print(f"GST Rate: {gst_rate:.2f}%")
print(f"Total Amount (including GST): ${total_amount:.2f}")

# Run the program
if __name__ == "__main__":

Here’s how the program works:

  1. The calculate_gst function takes the original_amount and gst_rate as parameters, calculates the GST amount, adds it to the original amount, and returns the total amount.
  2. The main function prompts the user to enter the original amount and GST rate, calls the calculate_gst function, and then prints the original amount, GST rate, and total amount (including GST).
  3. The program is structured to run when executed directly. It calls the main function to start the GST calculation.

Example run:

Enter the original amount: 100
Enter the GST rate (%): 18
Original Amount: $100.00
GST Rate: 18.00%
Total Amount (including GST): $118.00


Understanding Python functions is crucial for effective programming. They provide modularity, reusability, and clarity in code. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, mastering functions is a key step towards writing efficient and maintainable Python code. Practice, experimentation, and continuous learning are essential to becoming proficient in working with functions and leveraging their full potential in your projects.