Generator functions are similar to regular functions except that they must return an iterator. But instead of using a return statement, generator functions use an expression called yield.

So how does yield differ from a return statement? Well, any code that is written after a yield expression will execute on the next iteration of the iterator. Code written after a return statement will not execute.

The following example shows how the yield expression is used within a generator function:

def course_generator(): yield 'Computer Science' yield 'Art' yield 'Business'

This function will return an iterator that contains the string values ‘Computer Science’, ‘Art’, and ‘Business’. On each iteration of the iterator, each yield will return its corresponding course value.

courses = course_generator() for course in courses: print(course)

Would print out:

Computer Science Art Business

Another key difference between yield and return is that the yield expression will suspend the execution of the function and preserve any local variables that exist within the function. The return statement will terminate the function immediately and return the result(s) to the caller.

Like all objects, the iterator object returned by a generator function can be stored in a variable to be used later. It can then be iterated through as needed.

Let’s utilize the yield keyword to write our own generator function!



We want to create a generator that will generate values of class standings: 'Freshman', 'Sophomore', 'Junior', and 'Senior'. The generator function should be named class_standing_generator.


Initialize an iterator object called class_standings from calling class_standing_generator().


Use a for loop to iterate through the class_standings iterator to print out each class standing value.

Sign up to start coding

Mini Info Outline Icon
By signing up for Codecademy, you agree to Codecademy's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Or sign up using:

Already have an account?