A basic python function to censor replace words in sentences

When working with text data, it is often necessary to censor or replace certain words in sentences. In Python, there are several ways to achieve this. In this article, we will explore three different approaches to solving this problem.

Approach 1: Using the replace() method

The simplest way to censor words in a sentence is by using the replace() method. This method allows us to replace occurrences of a specific word with another word or a blank space. Here’s an example:


def censor_sentence(sentence, word_to_censor):
    censored_sentence = sentence.replace(word_to_censor, "*"*len(word_to_censor))
    return censored_sentence

sentence = "I love eating apples"
word_to_censor = "apples"

censored_sentence = censor_sentence(sentence, word_to_censor)
print(censored_sentence)

In this example, the censor_sentence() function takes a sentence and a word to censor as input. It uses the replace() method to replace all occurrences of the word with asterisks (*) of the same length. The censored sentence is then returned and printed.

Approach 2: Using regular expressions

If we need more flexibility in censoring words, we can use regular expressions. Regular expressions allow us to define patterns and perform advanced string matching. Here’s an example:


import re

def censor_sentence(sentence, word_to_censor):
    pattern = re.compile(r'b' + word_to_censor + r'b', re.IGNORECASE)
    censored_sentence = pattern.sub("*"*len(word_to_censor), sentence)
    return censored_sentence

sentence = "I love eating apples"
word_to_censor = "apples"

censored_sentence = censor_sentence(sentence, word_to_censor)
print(censored_sentence)

In this example, the censor_sentence() function uses the re.compile() function to create a regular expression pattern that matches the word to censor. The pattern is then used with the sub() method to replace all occurrences of the word with asterisks. The censored sentence is returned and printed.

Approach 3: Using a list comprehension

If we want to censor multiple words in a sentence, we can use a list comprehension to iterate over the words and replace them. Here’s an example:


def censor_sentence(sentence, words_to_censor):
    censored_sentence = ' '.join(['*' * len(word) if word in words_to_censor else word for word in sentence.split()])
    return censored_sentence

sentence = "I love eating apples and bananas"
words_to_censor = ["apples", "bananas"]

censored_sentence = censor_sentence(sentence, words_to_censor)
print(censored_sentence)

In this example, the censor_sentence() function takes a sentence and a list of words to censor as input. It uses a list comprehension to iterate over the words in the sentence. If a word is in the list of words to censor, it is replaced with asterisks of the same length. The censored sentence is then returned and printed.

After exploring these three approaches, it is clear that the best option depends on the specific requirements of the task. If we only need to censor a single word, Approach 1 using the replace() method is the simplest and most straightforward. However, if we need more flexibility or want to censor multiple words, Approach 2 using regular expressions or Approach 3 using a list comprehension are better suited. It is important to consider the complexity and performance implications of each approach when making a decision.

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