Adventures in Machine Learning

4 Common Python Errors: Causes Detection and Fixes

Errors are a natural occurrence in programming, and they come in different forms. Two types of common Python errors are SyntaxError and invalid quotation marks errors.

This article aims to provide you with a better understanding of each of them, their causes, and how to fix them.

SyntaxError: Invalid Character

Have you ever run into a situation where in the course of coding, you include a code snippet, and then, all of a sudden, an error pops up that you can’t explain?

You may wonder if you got something wrong in Python, maybe a keyword or syntax. But if you look closely, you may find that the problem is because you copied a code snippet from a source that wasn’t in the English standard.

The error message could look like this: “SyntaxError: invalid character in identifier.”

What Causes SyntaxError? SyntaxError occurs when the Python interpreter comes across a code snippet with characters that aren’t recognized as part of Python syntax.

This could happen for various reasons, including:

1. Copied Code Snippet: When you copy a code snippet from a website or other sources, you may inadvertently copy non-standard characters into your script.

2. Use of Non-English Keyboard: If you’re using a non-English keyboard that has different characters, you may encounter this error.

3. Invalid Character: Sometimes, you might deliberately or mistakenly insert an invalid character into your code.

How to Identify the Invalid Character

To identify the invalid character, you should inspect the error message displayed by the Python interpreter. It will typically tell you which line of code the error occurred and give a brief explanation of the issue.

Look at the characters involved and try to determine which one does not belong in Python syntax.

How to Fix the Error

The most common way to fix the invalid character error is to retype the code or remove the character causing the problem. Alternatively, switch your keyboard configuration to an English keyboard.

Specifically, you may encounter the following situations:

1. Quotation Marks: Sometimes, the Python interpreter may identify quotation marks around a string incorrectly.

This could be because a different type of quotation mark was used, or there is an unmatched quotation mark. The solution is to replace the incorrect quotation marks with valid ones.

2. Commas: There are instances where the Python interpreter may identify commas incorrectly, especially when dealing with print statements.

Ensure that they are placed correctly and not in the wrong spots.


Subtraction: In situations where subtraction is used in a calculation and the minus sign looks a bit funky, the Python interpreter may think that it’s an invalid character. In such an instance, you can try to retype the subtraction symbol.

Errors Caused by Invalid Quotation Marks

Quoting string literals in Python is an essential aspect of coding. It enables you to use strings in your code, giving the program the ability to process textual data.

However, invalid quotation marks errors may occur when you don’t use the correct quotation marks.

The Importance of Quoting String Literals in Python

Quoting string literals is crucial in Python programming because it enables the interpreter to identify where the string starts and where it ends. It also enables you to include quotation marks inside a string.

Examples of Invalid Quotation Marks

Python recognizes single quotes (‘ ‘) and double quotes (” “) as valid quotation marks. However, you may encounter non-standard quotation marks that are not recognized by Python.

Examples include curly quotation marks and grave accents.

How to Fix the Error

The solution to fixing invalid quotation marks involves replacing them with valid ones. Use either single or double quotation marks, depending on your coding requirements.

In conclusion, SyntaxError and invalid quotation marks errors in Python can cause a program to fail unexpectedly. In this article, we’ve explored the causes of these errors and provided solutions for fixing them.

As you code in Python, be sure to check your code for these common errors to ensure that you have a less bumpy programming journey. Errors in Python often lead to failed program execution and incorrect outputs.

Invalid comma usage and non-printing characters are common causes of such errors. This article will focus on these two types of errors, their causes, detection, and how to fix them.

Errors Caused by Invalid Comma Usage

Comma usage is a vital aspect of Python syntax, as it is used to separate items in a list, tuple, or dictionary. As a programmer, it’s important to understand the rules of comma usage to avoid SyntaxErrors in your code.

Non-English keyboards and unfamiliarity with Python syntax rules are common culprits in causing invalid comma usage errors.

Non-English Keyboards and Comma Usage

Comma usage is often expressed differently in different language keyboards, leading to difficulties in recognizing the comma character in Python syntax. In some keyboards, the comma serves as a decimal delimiter, while in others, it functions as a separator.

These differences could lead to using the wrong character or using the correct character, but in the wrong context.

Examples of Invalid Comma Usage

Examples of invalid comma usage include using non-standard commas or accidentally omitting commas, which could significantly alter the meaning of the code. For instance, consider the following code snippet:

new_list = [1 2 3 4 5]

In the code above, the absence of commas between “1,” “2,” and so on will lead to invalid syntax error.

The code should look like this, instead:

new_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

How to Fix the Error

To solve the invalid comma usage error, review the code to confirm if the commas are appropriately placed to separate list items in the intended context. Retyping the code or copying and pasting from a different source could also help resolve errors that may arise from using the wrong commas.

For users with non-English keyboards, switching to an English keyboard may also be necessary.

Errors Caused by Non-Printing Characters

Non-printing characters, often hidden inside text strings, wreak havoc in programs and cause various errors, including SyntaxErrors. Non-printing characters are characters that aren’t displayed in output but affect string operations.

Detecting these characters in code is essential in avoiding these types of errors.

Definition and Detection of Non-Printing Characters

Non-printing characters are a collection of ASCII characters that don’t have a visible representation in output. They are present in all text files and text-processing systems.

Common non-printing characters include whitespace characters like tabs, newlines, and carriage returns. Accidentally inserting these characters into code could lead to errors.

It’s not always easy to detect these non-printing characters with the naked eye. Text editors and Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) have built-in tools for detecting them.

Editors such as VS Code, PyCharm, and Sublime Text, have plugins for detecting and removing non-printing characters. The command-line tool grep can also be used for detection.

Similarity to Invalid Character Errors

Errors caused by non-printing characters are often similar to those caused by invalid characters. They are triggered when Python encounters a character that it does not recognize as part of its syntax.

These errors could disrupt the flow of programs and change the execution of codes.

How to Fix the Error

The first step in fixing non-printing character errors is to detect them using an appropriate tool. Once detected, remove them or replace with appropriate characters.

You may also modify the script to eliminate similar errors that may arise from non-printing characters.


Invalid comma usage and non-printing characters are two types of errors that can lead to incorrect program flow and output in Python. We’ve discussed how to detect and fix these errors effectively.

As Python programmers, staying vigilant and thorough in reviewing code is vital in avoiding such errors. Python errors caused by invalid character, invalid quotation marks, invalid comma usage, and non-printing characters can lead to failed program execution and incorrect output.

Non-English keyboards, unfamiliarity with Python syntax rules, and hidden non-printing characters are common reasons for these types of errors. The article has provided explanations and solutions for detecting and fixing these errors effectively.

As Python programmers, practicing good coding habits and staying vigilant in reviewing and testing code before running it is essential in avoiding such errors and ensuring successful programming outcomes.

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