Object and instance

What is the difference between objects and instances in python

I would put it this way: An “object” is an “instance” of a “class”,

People freely use instance and object interchangeable.

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I would say it is ambiguous and can be confusing:

  • anything is an “object” (classes, instances, functions, …)
  • so any class is an “object”
  • and any instance is an “object”
  • in OOP theory object might denote an instance, depending on the used terminology

and further more:

  • python has an object class: Built-in Functions — Python 3.12.2 documentation
  • a class inherits from this object (try: “class Test: pass; assert isinstance(Test, object)”)
  • and an instance is also an object (try: “class Test: pass; t = Test(); assert isinstance(t, object)”)

“object” and “instance” are synonymous, but focusing on different things.

  • An object is a value, a piece of data with its associated type, methods, etc, etc.
  • An instance is one example of a particular class; for example, 42 is an instance of the type int.

Every value in Python is an object, and every object has a type. This means that every value is an instance of something. Calling something an “instance” is emphasizing the relationship between the type and the value; calling it an “object” is emphasizing the encapsulation of data and functionality.

Every value is an instance, every value is an object. The terms are more-or-less interchangeable.

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