Adventures in Machine Learning

Mastering Python Functions: Common Errors and Multiplication/Division Function

Function arguments play an essential role in Python programming as they allow developers to pass values or variables to a function, perform specific operations, and return values. However, using these arguments incorrectly can lead to errors that may prevent your program from running.

In this article, we will explore two common Python errors: Using Positional Arguments after Keyword Arguments and how to create a function in Python that allows for multiplication and division. Python Error: Using Positional Arguments after Keyword Arguments

When passing function arguments, it’s essential to follow the correct syntax to avoid errors.

One of the most common errors programmers encounter is using positional arguments after keyword arguments. This error occurs when you pass in arguments that don’t follow the expected order; instead, they’re followed by arguments passed with keywords.

For example, consider the following function:

def greet(name, msg):

print(“Hello”, name + ‘, ‘ + msg)

If you pass arguments to this function in the wrong order, e.g., greet(msg = “How you doing?”, “John”), you get a TypeError: greet() got multiple values for argument ‘msg.’ This happens because the function interprets the first argument as the msg argument, but since you passed it as a positional argument, it overwrites the msg argument, which you passed after it with the keyword. To avoid this error, you should always pass positional arguments before keyword arguments, or only pass positional arguments, for example:

greet(“John”, msg = “How you doing?”)

Function in Python that Multiplies and Divides

Python functions allow you to perform specific operations and return values. In this section, we will explore how to create a simple function that accepts two numbers and either divides or multiplies them.

We will start by defining the function:

def math_operation(num1, num2, op=”multiply”):

if op == “multiply”:

return num1 * num2

elif op == “divide”:

return num1 / num2


return “Invalid operator specified.”

Let’s go through this function step-by-step. The function math_operation takes two arguments, num1 and num2, and an optional third argument, op.

If op isn’t provided, Python defaults to “multiply.” Inside the function, we evaluate the value of op and perform the appropriate operation. If op is “multiply,” we multiply num1 and num2.

If op is “divide,” we divide num1 by num2. If neither of these conditions is met, we return a message indicating that an invalid operator was specified.

To use the function, you can call it with two numbers and provide an optional value for op. For example:

result = math_operation(4,5)


# Output:20

result = math_operation(10,5, op=”divide”)


# Output:2.0

As you can see, the first example multiplies 4 and 5, resulting in 20. The second example divides 10 by 5, resulting in 2.0. When using the function, you can use the named parameter op to specify which operation you want to perform.

Alternatively, you can use the positional arguments to call the function. For example:

result = math_operation(4, 5)


# Output:20

result = math_operation(10, 5, “divide”)


# Output:2.0

Because we specified the keyword op in the second example, we don’t need to use it again in the function call; instead, we can provide the value directly.


Python errors, such as using positional arguments after keyword arguments and improperly formatted functions, can be challenging to debug. However, by following the syntax specified by the Python documentation, you can catch errors before your program crashes.

Additionally, functions like math_operation allow for more advanced operations within the Python programming language. By understanding how to create and utilize functions with Python, you can become a more efficient coder and better problem solver overall.

In addition to the previous sections covering Python errors and creating functions with Python, it’s important to highlight the additional resources available to developers coding in Python. These resources can serve as valuable tools for troubleshooting and gaining a deeper understanding of Python functionality.

In this section, we will explore some of these resources and their benefits.

Python Documentation

The Python documentation is an essential resource for Python developers of all levels. The documentation provides in-depth descriptions of Python’s functionality and its various components.

The documentation is comprehensive, covering everything from the basics of Python to more advanced topics like data types, control structures, and functions. It’s structured in a way that’s easy to read and navigate, with code examples and clear explanations.

For example, if you’re trying to create a function with Python and you encounter an error, searching the Python documentation for solutions can often help you quickly diagnose the problem. This can save time and frustration, particularly when dealing with complex code.

The documentation can also be helpful for those new to Python, as it provides a clear and concise introduction to the language.

Python Libraries

Python libraries are collections of pre-written code that can be imported and used in your Python projects. These libraries come in handy when developers need to perform specific operations or tasks that are outside the scope of the standard Python library.

There are many Python libraries available, ranging from web development and scientific computing to data analysis and machine learning. For example, if you’re working on a project that requires data analysis, you could use the NumPy library.

NumPy provides powerful numerical computing tools, including support for large, multi-dimensional arrays and matrices. Similarly, if you’re working on a web development project, you might use a library like Flask or Django to create web applications.

Python Communities

Python has a robust and supportive community of developers who are always willing to help one another. This community can be an invaluable resource when it comes to troubleshooting issues or learning more about Python development.

There are many forums and discussion boards where you can ask questions, share your code, and get feedback from other developers. One of the most prominent Python communities is the Python Software Foundation (PSF).

The PSF provides support and resources for Python developers, including documentation, code libraries, and event sponsorships. They also organize PyCon, the largest annual Python conference.

Another popular Python community is Stack Overflow. Stack Overflow is a question and answer site where developers can post questions and receive answers from other members of the community.

It’s an excellent resource for troubleshooting specific coding issues and getting feedback from experienced developers.

Online Tutorials and Courses

Online tutorials and courses are another excellent resource for learning Python. There are many free and paid resources available online, covering everything from the basics of Python to more advanced topics like machine learning and data analysis.

These tutorials can be particularly helpful for gaining a deeper understanding of specific Python components, like function arguments or object-oriented programming. For example, Codecademy offers a free interactive Python course that covers the fundamentals of Python programming.

Udemy is another popular platform that offers a range of Python courses, from beginner to advanced.


In conclusion, there are many resources available to developers coding in Python. The Python documentation is an essential resource for understanding the language’s core components and troubleshooting issues.

Libraries like NumPy and Flask provide pre-written code that can be used to perform specific tasks. The Python community is supportive and can provide valuable feedback and assistance, while online tutorials and courses can help developers gain a deeper understanding of Python’s functionality.

By utilizing these resources and continuously learning, developers can become proficient in Python and create more efficient and effective code. In this article, we have explored common errors that occur when working with function arguments in Python.

Specifically, we examined the error of using positional arguments after keyword arguments and how to create a function that allows for multiplication and division. We also discussed additional resources available to developers, including the Python documentation, libraries, communities, and online tutorials and courses.

These resources are essential for helping developers become proficient in Python and create efficient code. By following the syntax specified by the Python documentation, using libraries for specific tasks, and participating in the supportive Python community, developers can be better-equipped to troubleshoot errors and gain a deeper understanding of Python functionality.

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