Continue Statement in Python

In the vast world of Python programming, where each line of code holds immense value, the "continue" statement is like a hidden gem. It might not be the most famous part of Python, but it plays a crucial role. This article will take you on a journey to understand the magic behind the "continue" statement and why it's essential.

What is the "continue" Statement?

At its core, the "continue" statement is a tool that helps Python programmers work with loops more efficiently.

In a more formal sense, the "continue" statement is a control flow construct within Python that allows for the selective skipping of specific code blocks within a loop during its execution.

Think of it as a navigational aid in the programming maze, enabling developers to bypass certain sections of code to reach their intended destination more swiftly.

This feature proves invaluable when dealing with loops, enhancing code efficiency and improving overall program readability.

Syntax of the "continue" Statement

The way you use the "continue" statement is quite simple.

Here's the basic structure:

while condition:
    # This is the start of a loop iteration
    # Some code here
    if some_condition:
        # If this condition is met,
        # we will skip the rest of this iteration
    # Code here will only run if the condition is NOT met
    # This is where you can put the code you want to execute
    # for each iteration that doesn't meet the 'some_condition'
# The loop continues as long as 'condition' remains true
# When 'condition' becomes false, the loop will stop

This code snippet breaks down the elements of a "while" loop with comments, making it easier for beginners to understand how the "continue" statement affects the flow of the loop.

How Does the "continue" Statement Work?

Let's begin with an example and then provide an explanation with reference to that example:

Using "continue" in a Loop

for num in range(1, 6):
    if num % 2 == 0:
        print(f"Skipping even number: {num}")
    print(f"Processing odd number: {num}")


Processing odd number: 1
Skipping even number: 2
Processing odd number: 3
Skipping even number: 4
Processing odd number: 5

In this example, we have a "for" loop that iterates through numbers from 1 to 5. We use the "continue" statement to skip even numbers and print odd numbers.

Let's break down this example step by step:

  • The loop begins with num set to 1.
  • Python checks if num % 2 == 0, which checks if num is even. In this case, it's not, so we don't trigger the "continue" statement.
  • We print "Processing odd number: 1".
  • The loop proceeds to the next iteration with num set to 2.
  • Now, num % 2 == 0 is true, indicating that num is even.
  • The "continue" statement is triggered, which means we immediately jump to the next loop iteration without executing the code below it.
  • We don't print "Processing odd number: 2" because we skipped this part.
  • This process repeats for the remaining numbers in the loop.

So, in this example, "continue" acts like a fast-forward button in a video. A part of the code below "continue" is skipped for even numbers, not the iterations and only process the ones we are interested in (odd numbers). This mechanism helps us control the flow of our code within a loop.

Use Cases of the "continue" Statement

Let's dive into practical examples where the "continue" statement can be a lifesaver:

Scenario 1: Boosting Efficiency with "for" Loops

# Let's go through a collection of items one by one
for item in collection:
    # Check if the current item doesn't meet our criteria
    if not is_valid(item):
        # If it doesn't meet our criteria, we use "continue" to skip it
    # If the item meets our criteria, we proceed here
    # This is where you can put the code to process items that meet the criteria
# The loop continues until we've gone through all items in the collection
# Items that didn't meet our criteria were skipped, and we processed the ones that did

Scenario 2: Fine-Tuning While Loops

# As long as the 'condition' remains true, we continue to execute this loop
while condition:
    # Fetch some data for processing
    data = fetch_data()
    # Check if the fetched data is empty
    if not data:
        # If the data is empty, we use "continue" to skip the rest of this loop iteration
        # This means we won't process anything for this specific data
    # If the data is not empty, we proceed here
    # This is where you can put the code to process the non-empty data
    # Now, let's say we have a nested loop inside this one
    for item in data:
        # Here, you can add code to process each item within the non-empty data
        # If a specific condition is met for an item, you can use "continue" here too
        if some_condition:
            # Using "continue" in this nested loop will skip the rest of the current iteration
            # and move to the next item in the 'data' loop, without affecting the outer loop
# The outer loop continues until the 'condition' becomes false
# During each iteration, we fetch data and process it if it's not empty
# We skip processing for empty data using the "continue" statement
# The "continue" statement can also be used in nested loops to skip specific iterations.

This explanation covers how the "continue" statement works in both the outer and nested loops, allowing you to skip specific iterations as needed.

This code, along with the comments, explains that we are running a loop as long as the specified 'condition' remains true. In each iteration, we fetch some data, check if it's empty, and either skip it (if it's empty) or process it (if it's not empty) based on the "continue" statement. This helps beginners understand how to handle data within a loop while skipping empty data.

"continue" vs. "break": Understanding the Difference

While "continue" and "break" both influence loops, they have distinct behaviors:

Example 1: Using "continue"

for num in range(1, 6):
    if num == 3:
        print(f"Using 'continue' to skip {num}")
    print(f"Processing: {num}")

In this example, the "continue" statement is used. When num equals 3, "continue" is triggered, skipping the current iteration and moving on to the next number.

Here's what the output would look like:

Processing: 1
Processing: 2
Using 'continue' to skip 3
Processing: 4
Processing: 5

Example 2: Using "break"

for num in range(1, 6):
    if num == 3:
        print(f"Using 'break' to exit loop at {num}")
    print(f"Processing: {num}")

In this example, the "break" statement is used. When num equals 3, "break" is triggered, immediately exiting the entire loop.

The output would be:

Processing: 1
Processing: 2
Using 'break' to exit loop at 3


  • "continue" allows us to skip the current iteration and continue with the next one within the same loop.
  • "break" terminates the entire loop when encountered, regardless of any remaining iterations.

These examples highlight the crucial difference between the two statements in loop control.


In conclusion, the Python "continue" statement might seem modest, but it's a powerful tool for improving code efficiency and making loops more manageable. By mastering "continue" and understanding its nuances, you can become a more proficient Python programmer.

Embrace "continue" as your helper, and watch your code become more efficient. Happy coding!

Let’s Revise

  • The "continue" statement in Python is a control flow construct used within loops to selectively skip specific code blocks during execution.
  • It is used within loops like "while" or "for" loops.
  • When encountered, it causes the loop to immediately jump to the next iteration, skipping the remaining code in the current iteration.
  • It is often used to skip certain iterations within a loop based on a condition.
  • For example, in a "for" loop, if a condition is met, the "continue" statement allows you to skip the current iteration and move to the next one.
  • It helps skip items that don't meet specific criteria, making code more efficient.
  • It can be used in "while" loops to skip certain iterations based on conditions.
  • It allows for processing only data that meets certain conditions while skipping the rest.
  • "continue" skips the current iteration and continues with the next one.
  • "break" terminates the entire loop when encountered, regardless of any remaining iterations.

Test Your Knowledge

1. What is the primary purpose of the "continue" statement in Python?
2. In which type of loops can you use the "continue" statement?
3. When is the "continue" statement typically used in Python?
4. What is a practical use case for the "continue" statement mentioned in the tutorial?
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