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## List within a list

The problem below was asked on the AskSage forum. Below I restate the problem and three possible solutions.

Problem

I have a short list of primes

```sage: L = [2, 5, 23]
```

and a longer list of primes

```sage: P = primes_first_n(20); P
[2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71]
```

How do I check that all members of L are contained within P?

Solution

You can use a brute-force search by defining your own custom function. This option doesn’t assume that elements in your lists are unique. Your lists can contain duplicate elements if you want.

```sage: def is_sublist(shortlist, longlist):
....:     for e in shortlist:
....:         if not (e in longlist):
....:             return False
....:     return True
....:
sage: L = [2, 5, 23]
sage: P = primes_first_n(20); P
[2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71]
sage: is_sublist(L, P)
True
sage: L + [23]
[2, 5, 23, 23]
sage: is_sublist(L + [23], P)
True
sage: L.append(next_prime(P[-1])); L
[2, 5, 23, 73]
sage: is_sublist(L, P)
False
sage: is_sublist(L + [23], P)
False
```

Alternatively, you can use the built-in functions itertools.imap and all. The function itertools.imap is efficient when your lists are large, e.g. having hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of elements. This second option doesn’t care if your lists have duplicate elements.

```sage: import itertools
sage: L = [2, 5, 23]
sage: P = primes_first_n(20); P
[2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71]
sage: L + [23]
[2, 5, 23, 23]
sage: all(itertools.imap(lambda x: x in P, L))
True
sage: all(itertools.imap(lambda x: x in P, L + [23]))
True
sage: L.append(next_prime(P[-1])); L
[2, 5, 23, 73]
sage: all(itertools.imap(lambda x: x in P, L))
False
sage: all(itertools.imap(lambda x: x in P, L + [23]))
False
```

Or, as Mitesh Patel said, you could use set. This third approach assumes that the elements in each list are unique, i.e. each list doesn’t contain duplicate elements.

```sage: L = [2, 5, 23]
sage: P = set(primes_first_n(20))
sage: set(L)
set([2, 5, 23])
sage: set(L).issubset(P)
True
sage: set(L + [23])
set([2, 5, 23])
sage: set(L + [23]).issubset(P)
True
sage: L.append(111); L
[2, 5, 23, 111]
sage: set(L)
set([2, 111, 5, 23])
sage: set(L + [111])
set([2, 111, 5, 23])
sage: set(L + [111]).issubset(P)
False
sage: set(L).issubset(P)
False
```