Python | Difference Between Method and Function?

Python | Difference Between Method and Function?

Python, with its versatile and user-friendly syntax, has become a preferred language for both beginners and experienced programmers. As you dive into the world of Python programming, you’ll encounter the concepts of methods and functions. While these terms might seem interchangeable at first glance, they hold distinct meanings and play different roles in your code. In this article, we will explore the dissimilarities between methods and functions in Python, supported by illustrative examples.

Functions: The Building Blocks of Reusable Code

Functions are fundamental building blocks in Python that encapsulate a set of statements into a reusable unit of code. They facilitate modularity, making it easier to manage and debug complex programs. Functions can be created using the def keyword, followed by the function name, a set of parameters enclosed in parentheses, a colon, and an indented block of code containing the function’s implementation.

def greet(name):
    return f"Hello, {name}!"

result = greet("Biochemithon")
print(result) # Output: Hello, Biochemithon!

In this example, the greet function takes a parameter name and returns a formatted greeting message.

Methods: Functions Bound to Objects

Methods, on the other hand, are functions that are associated with objects. They are defined within classes and operate on the attributes and data of those objects. Methods are an essential aspect of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and enable you to bundle both data and the operations that can be performed on that data together.

class Circle:
    def __init__(self, radius):
    self.radius = radius

    def calculate_area(self):
    return 3.14 * self.radius * self.radius

circle = Circle(5)
area = circle.calculate_area()
print(area) # Output: 78.5

In this example, the calculate_area method is associated with the Circle class and computes the area of a circle based on its radius.

Key Differences

Definition and Usage:

  • Functions are standalone units of code that can be defined anywhere in your code and are not tied to any specific object or class.
  • Methods are functions that are defined within classes and operate on the attributes and data of those classes’ objects.


  • Functions are defined using the def keyword followed by the function name and parameters.
  • Methods are defined within a class using the same syntax as functions, but they have an additional parameter, usually named self, which represents the instance of the object.


  • Functions are called by their names, passing arguments as required.
  • Methods are invoked on objects using dot notation, and the instance is automatically passed as the first argument (self).

Access to Data:

  • Functions only have access to the data passed as arguments.
  • Methods have access to the instance attributes and can modify them.


  • Functions reside in the global namespace or local namespaces.
  • Methods are part of an object’s namespace.


In conclusion, while both methods and functions in Python serve the purpose of encapsulating code, they cater to different programming paradigms. Functions are versatile and reusable chunks of code, while methods are associated with classes and operate on object data. Understanding the distinction between these concepts is crucial for writing efficient, organized, and maintainable Python code.

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