Adventures in Machine Learning

Handling Python Attribute Errors: Causes Types and Solutions

Programming languages help us to create programs that are designed to execute specific tasks. We write programs in many programming languages, such as Python, to solve real-life and computer-based problems.

However, writing code is not always easy. You might encounter errors in your code while executing it.

These errors prevent your code from running correctly, and this is where troubleshooting comes into play. In Python, when an error occurs, we get an error message that shows us where the error occurred and what type of error occurred.

In this article, we’ll focus on attribute errors in Python, what causes them, and how to correct them.

Types of Errors in Python

There are different types of errors in Python. The most common types of errors include syntax errors, value errors, and attribute errors.

Syntax Errors: Syntax errors are the most common type of error, and it occurs due to incorrect syntax. For instance, if you forget to close a bracket or use a wrong keyword, you will get a syntax error.

Value Errors: A value error occurs when you pass a variable or object with an inappropriate value to a function. For instance, when you pass a string to an integer function, you’ll get a value error.

Attribute Errors: An attribute error occurs when you try to call an attribute that doesn’t exist in the object or module you’re using. Python uses dot notation to call an attribute, and calling an attribute that doesn’t exist will result in an attribute error.

Understanding Python Attribute Errors

An attribute error occurs when you try to access or call an attribute that doesn’t exist in an object or class you’re using. This error can occur due to a different number of factors, including syntax errors, misspelling, indentation, or even using user-defined classes.

Causes of Attribute Errors

Syntax Errors: Syntax errors can cause attribute errors. One must pay extra attention while writing code, as syntax errors can cause many other types of errors.

Misspelling: One of the common causes of attribute error is misspelling an attribute. For example, if an attribute is named ‘age’, but you mistakenly spell it as ‘Age’.

When you try to call the code containing the attribute ‘Age’ will result in attribute error. Indentation: Indentation errors occur when you don’t follow Python’s indentation rules.

Indentation errors can cause attribute errors since they can interfere with the assignment of an attribute. User-Defined Classes: Python allows the creation of customized or user-defined classes that allow the creation of new objects.

However, an attribute error can occur if a customized or user-defined class is called upon, and the attribute is not defined within the class.

Example of Attribute Errors

Let’s illustrate an example of an attribute error. Say we have a dictionary with the following key-value pairs:


dict = {

‘name’: ‘John’,

‘age’: 23,

‘city’: ‘New York’



Then we are performing an operation to extract the value stored at key ‘dob’ that does not exist:


dob = dict[‘dob’]


This code will generate the following error message:


Traceback (most recent call last):

File ““, line 1, in

KeyError: ‘dob’


The error message tells us that there is a ‘KeyError’ i.e an attribute error that occurred in line 1 of our code.

It means that the key ‘dob’ does not exist in the dictionary. To fix the code, we can avoid calling a key that doesn’t exist or add the key to the dictionary by assigning the value to the non-existing key.


dict[‘dob’] = ’01/01/1999′



In conclusion, attribute errors occur in Python when you try to access or call an attribute that doesn’t exist in an object or class. The most common causes of attribute errors include syntax errors, misspelling, indentation, and user-defined classes.

Python uses error messages to display the type and location of an error when an attribute error occurs. As a programmer, it is essential to understand these errors and how to fix them because addressing them will ensure your program runs successfully.

Fixing Python Attribute Errors

In the previous section, we discussed what attribute errors are, what caused them, and different types of attribute errors that occur in Python. In this section, we will discuss how to avoid or minimize these attribute errors and how to handle them when they occur.

Avoiding Attribute Errors

The best way to avoid attribute errors in Python is to write carefully coded programs that have a sound syntax. As we discussed earlier, syntax errors can cause attribute errors, so it’s needless to emphasize the importance of paying extra attention to syntax.

You can avoid attribute errors by double-checking your code for spelling errors, ensuring that there are no syntax errors and following indentation rules to the latter. Another technique for avoiding attribute errors is syntax recognition.

Syntax recognition is an excellent way to prevent syntax errors. It involves familiarizing yourself with various syntax rules in Python.

Syntax recognition can prevent attribute errors that arise from syntax errors since you can quickly pinpoint the problem’s exact location.

Using Exception Handling to Solve Attribute Errors

Exception handling in Python is an efficient way of dealing with attribute errors. Exception handling includes using try-except blocks to handle potential errors before executing the code.

When Python encounters an attribute error, it ends the program with a traceback error message, but with exception handling, the error message is replaced with a statement to handle it. You can execute an alternative code or print a custom error message in this block.

Let’s see an example of how exception handling can be used to deal with attribute errors. Here is a code snippet that generates an attribute error:


data = {‘name’:’John Smith’, ‘age’:25}



The output will be:


Traceback (most recent call last):

File ““, line 1, in

KeyError: ‘city’


Now we can add exception handling code to catch the unique ‘KeyError’ that has been generated in our program:


data = {‘name’:’John Smith’, ‘age’:25}



except KeyError:

print(“The key ‘city’ does not exist in the dictionary.”)


The output will be:


The key ‘city’ does not exist in the dictionary.


In the above example, the “try” block is executed first since there was no error in it. The “except” block is then executed since there was an attribute error in the “try” block to handle the ‘KeyError’ and display our custom error message.

Conclusion and Additional Resources

In this article, we’ve learned about attribute errors in Python, the different types of attribute errors, and the causes of attribute errors. Additionally, we’ve discussed how to avoid attribute errors by using careful coding and syntax recognition.

Lastly, we’ve discussed how to handle attribute errors efficiently by applying exception handling techniques using try-except blocks. As with any programming languages, errors can be frustrating and time-consuming.

Understanding and fixing Python errors can become second nature with practice. To help you get more familiar with handling Python errors, we’ve listed some additional resources you can use:

– Python Errors and Exceptions – The official Python documentation provides a comprehensive guide to handling Python errors and exceptions.

– Python Programming: Anto Computer Science – This textbook is an excellent resource for anyone learning Python. Chapter 2 of the book covers errors and debugging in detail.

– Python Crash Course – This book covers Python programming from the basics and includes a whole chapter on debugging.

Overall, understanding how to identify, avoid, and handle attribute errors will help you become a better Python programmer and minimize the time you spend chasing down errors.

In conclusion, Python attribute errors can be a common occurrence while writing code, and can be caused by syntax errors, misspellings, indentation, and user-defined classes. To avoid or minimize attribute errors, it is crucial to write carefully coded programs that follow indentation and syntax rules.

Additionally, using exception handling techniques such as try-except blocks can efficiently deal with attribute errors. The importance of understanding and addressing attribute errors cannot be overstated, and with consistent practice and learning from additional resources, one can become a better Python programmer.