I am using pytest to test a function that reads a csv into a dictionary of lists. In the test function it writes a sample dictionary to a csv then calls the function to read it back out. To accomplish this the df.to_csv() has to have the index=False parameter to avoid writing the index then reading it as an unnamed column.

I get the error 'ValueError: The truth value of a DataFrame is ambiguous. Use a.empty, a.bool(), a.item(), a.any() or a.all()' when I run the test function.

I have confirmed that the read function operates correctly. Here is the code:

def read_csv(filename):
    """Read the contents of a CSV file into a compound
    dictionary and return the dictionary.
    # Read the csv file and input it into a dictionary
    reader = pd.read_csv(filename)
    return reader

and the subsequent test function:

def test_read_csv():
    """Verify that the read_csv function works correctly"""
    # Wrie a sample csv file
    filename = 'test.csv'
    # Information for the header of the file
    # the items in the list.
    temp_dict = {
        'product': [1, 2, 3],
        'quantity': [15, 25, 40]
    # opens the file and writes the provided information to it.
    writer = pd.DataFrame.from_dict(temp_dict)
    # Send the dataframe to a csv
    writer.to_csv(filename, index=False)

    # Call read_csv to read the sample file
    read = read_csv(filename)

    # Delete the lines.csv file

    # Verify that read_csv read the file correctly
    assert read == writer

How to I get this to work as needed.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To check if two dataframes are the same you probably want to use the pandas.DataFrame.equals method instead of using ==. $\endgroup$
    – Oxbowerce
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ That fixed it thank you. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


The two data frames do not reference to same object,in case of pandas the normal python boolean logic statement's doesn't work. But your problem can with a little change
so change your this part of code

    # Verify that read_csv read the file correctly
    assert read == writer


    # Verify that read_csv read the file correctly
    assert read.equals(writer)

equals function will check all the elements of two dara Hope it helps


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