Adventures in Machine Learning

Avoiding Syntax Errors: How to Get Rid of Invalid Characters in Your Code

SyntaxError: Invalid Character: What it Means and How to Fix It

Have you ever tried running code in your editor, only to get an error message that reads “SyntaxError: invalid character”? Chances are, you have.

This error message indicates that your code has a special character that the computer cannot understand. In this article, we will explore what causes a SyntaxError: invalid character and how to fix it.

Reproducing the Error: Full Width Parentheses and Unicode Hex

One of the most common causes of SyntaxError: invalid character is the use of full-width parentheses or other special characters. Full-width parentheses are Unicode characters that appear similar to regular parentheses, but are coded differently.

These characters are often used in non-English languages, but can cause issues when used in programming. Other special characters, such as emojis or uncommon punctuation marks, can also cause the SyntaxError: invalid character error.

To reproduce the error, simply add a line of code with full-width parentheses or other special characters in your text editor and run it. For example:




This code snippet contains a pair of full-width parentheses that looks like regular parentheses. However, since they are encoded differently, the computer cannot recognize them as valid code.

Running this code will result in a SyntaxError: invalid character. Fixing the Error: Retype the Code Line Manually or Remove Invalid Characters

There are several ways to fix the SyntaxError: invalid character.

One common method is to simply retype the entire line of code manually. This ensures that all characters are typed correctly and that no unwanted special characters have been included.

It is also good practice to use a text editor that has a syntax highlighting feature, which can help identify invalid characters. Another option is to remove the invalid characters manually.

This is more time-consuming than retyping the code, but is useful if you want to retain the existing code structure. To remove invalid characters, simply find and delete them from the line of code.

If using a text editor that does not support Unicode characters, open the file in a different editor that does. Examples of Invalid Characters: Parentheses and Inverted Commas

In addition to full-width parentheses, there are several other examples of invalid characters that can cause the SyntaxError: invalid character error.

One of the most common examples is the regular parentheses, as well as other punctuation marks that appear similar to parentheses. Copy-pasting code from external sources (such as websites or PDF documents) can also introduce unwanted special characters that can cause the SyntaxError: invalid character.

Another common example is inverted commas (also known as quotation marks). When used in programming, it is crucial to use the appropriate type of inverted commas.

Single quotes and double quotes are different characters and cannot be used interchangeably. Using the wrong type of inverted commas can cause a SyntaxError: invalid character.


SyntaxError: invalid character is a common error message among developers that can cause frustration and confusion. However, with the right approach, it can be resolved quickly and efficiently.

By avoiding special characters, using the appropriate inverted commas, and typing code manually, you can easily avoid SyntaxError: invalid character in your programming.

Causes of Invalid Characters in Programming and How to Avoid Them

As a programmer, encountering an invalid character error can be frustrating and time-consuming. These errors occur when your code contains characters that are not recognized by the programming language.

In this article, we will explore the causes of invalid characters and how to avoid them.

Copy-Pasting from Websites or PDFs

One of the most common causes of invalid characters is copy-pasting code from external sources like websites or PDFs. Some sources may contain invisible special characters or whitespace characters that are not compatible with the programming language. These characters can lead to SyntaxError issues.

To avoid this problem, it is recommended that you type out your code manually rather than copy and paste it. If you must copy code from external sources, double-check the code after pasting it into your editor.

You can also use an online tool to check if there are any unwanted characters in your code.

Characters in Function or Variable Names

Function and variable names are an essential part of coding and help to make your code readable. However, errors may arise if these names include invalid characters.

The Python interpreter is not able to distinguish between special characters and keywords, which may result in a SyntaxError. To avoid errors caused by invalid characters in function or variable names, ensure that you use only alphanumeric characters and underscores.

This is a standard convention in most programming languages as it makes the code more readable and easier to interpret. Also, pay attention to any special characters that may look like English letters such as , , , , , and as they are not a part of the ASCII character set.

Difficulty in Interpreting Code

When invalid characters are present in your code, it can be challenging to interpret them. The Python interpreter reads the code as it is written and ignores any special characters that are not part of the syntax.

As a result, it may produce error messages that are not helpful in identifying the root cause of the problem. To avoid issues caused by invalid characters, it is important to ensure that your IDE has syntax highlighting enabled.

This feature highlights any invalid characters in your code, thus making it easy to identify and correct the issue. Additionally, it is always good practice to test your code regularly, especially when introducing new functionality.

Impact on Code Functionality

Invalid characters can also impact the functionality of your code. For example, if an invalid character is present in the argument of a print() function, the output may be incorrect or not print at all.

This can cause significant issues, especially if the code is being used in a production environment. To avoid invalid character errors, ensure that you stick to using standard ASCII characters in your code.

It is also advisable to use an IDE with syntax highlighting features as it can help identify invalid characters. In conclusion, invalid character errors are a common problem faced by programmers.

However, they can be avoided by following best practices like typing out your code manually, avoiding invalid characters, and testing your code regularly. Remember to select a good IDE that has syntax highlighting and code analysis capabilities.

Doing so will help to minimize the occurrence of invalid character errors in your code and promote quicker problem-solving. In conclusion, invalid character errors are a common occurrence that can cause frustration and delays for programmers.

These errors can be caused by various factors, such as copy-pasting code from external sources, using invalid characters in function or variable names, and not using syntax highlighting features in IDEs. To avoid these issues, best practices such as typing out code manually, sticking to alphanumeric and underscore characters for names, and regularly testing code should be followed. Employing these strategies will help minimize the occurrence of errors and promote efficient and effective programming.

Always double-check your code, review syntax highlighting, and use online tools to spot invalid characters and ensure that you produce accurate, reliable, and successful code.

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