# What is Python Set symmetric_difference()?

The `Python Set symmetric_difference()`

method allows you to find the symmetric difference between two sets. In simpler terms, it returns a new set that contains elements that are present in either of the two sets, but not in both. It’s like combining the unique elements from both sets while excluding the common elements. Let’s learn how this method can help you manipulate and compare them? `Let's get started!`

## What is the Purpose of Python set symmetric_difference()?

The main purpose of the ** symmetric_difference()** method is to provide you with a convenient way to compare and analyze sets. By finding the symmetric difference between two sets, you can identify the unique elements and better understand the relationship between the sets.

## Python symmetric_difference() Syntax and Parameters

Before we dive into practical examples, let’s take a look at the `syntax`

of the **Python set symmetric_difference()** method:

set1.symmetric_difference(set2)

Here, `set1`

and `set2`

are the two sets that you want to compare. The **symmetric_difference()** method returns a new set containing the unique elements present in either `set1`

or `set2`

, but not in both. Importantly, the original sets remain unchanged.

### I. Finding the Symmetric Difference between Two Sets

Let’s start by exploring how the **symmetric_difference()** method works with two sets. Imagine we have two sets: `set1`

and `set2`

, representing favorite destinations of two friends. Our goal is to find the destinations that are unique to each friend. Let’s see how it’s done:

In this example, `set1`

contains elements like ‘`Paris`

‘, ‘`London`

‘, ‘`Rome`

‘, and ‘`Tokyo`

‘, while `set2`

contains ‘`London`

‘, ‘`Tokyo`

‘, ‘`New York`

‘, and ‘`Sydney`

‘. By applying the **symmetric_difference()** method on `set1`

with `set2`

as the parameter, we obtain the symmetric difference, which is:

### II. Using the symmetric_difference() Method on Multiple Sets

`Python symmetric_difference()`

method can also be used to find the symmetric difference among multiple sets. Let’s consider a scenario where we have three sets: `set1`

, `set2`

, and `set3`

, representing different categories of popular vacation destinations. Our objective is to determine the unique destinations in each category. Here’s how it can be achieved:

Here, we apply the **symmetric_difference()** method twice. First, we find the symmetric difference between `set1`

and `set2`

using `set1.symmetric_difference(set2)`

. Then, we find the symmetric difference between the resulting set and `set3`

using `.symmetric_difference(set3)`

. This allows us to obtain the symmetric difference among all three sets correctly.

### III. Handling Sets with Different Data Types

`Python symmetric_difference()`

method can handle sets with different data types without any issues. It performs element-wise comparison and finds the symmetric difference between the sets, regardless of their data types.

Let’s take a look at an example to demonstrate how the ** symmetric_difference()** method handles sets with different data types:

Here, we perform the symmetric difference operation between each pair of sets: `set1`

and `set2`

, `set1`

and `set3`

, and `set2`

and `set3`

. We store the results in separate variables: `sym_diff_1_2`

, `sym_diff_1_3`

, and `sym_diff_2_3`

.

The symmetric difference between set1 and set3: {False, 2, 3}

The symmetric difference between set2 and set3: {False, True, ‘apple’, ‘banana’, ‘cherry’}

By executing the code, you will see above output that displays the symmetric difference between each pair of sets, considering their different data types.

### IV. Symmetric Difference Using Operators

To find the symmetric difference between sets in Python, you can also use the set operators. The symmetric difference operator, represented by the caret symbol `^`

, performs the same operation as the `symmetric_difference()`

method.

Let’s take a look at an example that demonstrates the symmetric difference using operators:

In this example, we have two sets, `set1`

and `set2`

, containing different fruits. By using the symmetric difference operator `^`

, we perform the operation between the two sets and assign the result to the variable `sym_diff`

. The output will display the elements that are present in either `set1`

or `set2`

, but not in both.

The result of the symmetric difference operation is a new set that contains the elements that are unique to either `set1`

or `set2`

. The elements ‘`banana`

‘, ‘`elderberry`

‘, ‘`durian`

‘, and ‘`apple`

‘ are present in either one of the sets but not in both.

## Common Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

When working with the `Python set symmetric_difference()`

method or the symmetric difference operator, it’s important to be aware of common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid. By understanding these potential issues, you can write more robust and error-free code. Let’s explore some common mistakes and pitfalls associated with finding the symmetric difference between sets:

### I. Mixing Data Types

Ensure that the elements in the sets are of the same data type. Mixing different data types can lead to unexpected results or errors. If you need to perform set operations, make sure the sets contain elements of the same data type.

### II. Incorrect Syntax

Pay attention to the correct syntax of the `symmetric_difference()`

method and the symmetric difference operator. Remember to use the proper set notation and operator symbol (^) to perform the symmetric difference operation.

### III. Missing Sets

Make sure you provide the correct sets as arguments to the `symmetric_difference()`

method or apply the operator between the desired sets. Forgetting to include a set or using the wrong sets can lead to incorrect results.

### IV. Forgetting to Assign the Result

If you’re using the `symmetric_difference()`

method, remember to assign the result to a variable to store the symmetric difference set. Forgetting to do so will result in losing the result and not being able to use it further in your code.

### V. Assuming Commutativity

The symmetric difference operation is not commutative, meaning that the order of sets can affect the result. Be cautious when switching the order of sets or applying the operator multiple times in a different order, as it may produce different results.

### VI. Ignoring Set Mutability

Remember that sets are mutable objects in Python. Applying the symmetric difference operation using the `symmetric_difference()`

method or the operator will not modify the original sets. If you want to update the original sets, assign the result back to one of the sets.

By keeping these common mistakes and pitfalls in mind, you can effectively find the symmetric difference between sets and ensure the accuracy of your results.

`Congratulations`

on learning about the Python set `symmetric_difference()`

method and its powerful capabilities! By understanding this method, you now have a valuable tool to find the symmetric difference between sets, allowing you to `compare`

, `manipulate`

, and analyze data effectively.

With your newfound knowledge and understanding, you are now equipped to leverage the Python set `symmetric_difference()`

method confidently. So go ahead, apply it to your projects, and unlock new possibilities in data manipulation and comparison. Keep exploring and expanding your skills with Python Helper, and you’ll continue to grow as a proficient programmer.