Adventures in Machine Learning

Syntax Errors in Python: Common Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Resolving SyntaxError: Cannot Assign to Expression Here

As a programmer, you will encounter different types of errors in your code, and one of the most common ones is the SyntaxError. It occurs when the compiler or interpreter encounters a code that does not conform to the rules of the programming language.

In this article, we will be discussing four types of SyntaxErrors and how to resolve them.

Using Underscores Instead of Hyphens

One common SyntaxError that beginners make is using hyphens instead of underscores while naming variables. In Python, hyphens are not allowed as naming conventions for variables, functions, or modules.

Instead, you should use underscores to separate words. For example, instead of naming a variable like my-variable, you should name it like my_variable.

Not Using Expressions on the Left-Hand Side of an Assignment

When assigning a value to a variable, you need to make sure that the left-hand side is an expression that can hold a value. Otherwise, a SyntaxError will be thrown.

For example, declaring “3 = x” would result in a SyntaxError, since “3” is not an expression that can hold a value, it is simply a number. Using Double Equals (==) When Comparing Values

Another common error is using double equals (==) instead of a single equals (=) while assigning a value to a variable.

Double equals is used for comparison, not assignment. For example, “x == 3” checks if x is equal to 3, but declaring “x == 3” assigns the value 3 to x only if x is equal to 3.

Declaring a Dictionary

In Python, a dictionary is an unordered collection of key-value pairs. When declaring a dictionary, you need to make sure that the keys are unique and immutable and enclosed in curly brackets {}.

The values can be any data type. For example:

my_dict = {“name”: “John”, “age”: 25, “city”: “New York”}

If you use square brackets [] instead of curly brackets {} to declare a dictionary, a SyntaxError will be thrown.

Additional Resources

If you are looking for more resources on Python syntax and resolving SyntaxErrors, there are many tutorials available online. Some popular ones include:

– W3Schools Python Tutorial: This website provides a comprehensive tutorial on Python syntax, with plenty of examples and explanations.

– Real Python: Real Python is a website that provides in-depth tutorials on various aspects of Python programming, including syntax, functions, and data structures. – Python for Everybody: Python for Everybody is a series of online courses taught by Charles Severance, an experienced Python programmer.

His courses cover everything from basic Python syntax to more advanced topics like web scraping and data visualization.


In conclusion, SyntaxErrors are common errors that you will encounter as you learn Python programming. By following the rules of the language, you can avoid SyntaxErrors and write clean and effective code.

Remember to use underscores instead of hyphens, use expressions on the left-hand side of an assignment, use a single equals sign for assignment, not double equals for comparison, and declare dictionaries using curly braces {}. If you encounter any SyntaxErrors, don’t panic, and refer to the additional resources available online.

Happy coding!

In this article, we discussed four common SyntaxErrors that beginners often make when learning Python programming. These errors include using hyphens instead of underscores when naming variables, not using expressions on the left-hand side of an assignment, using double equals for assignment instead of comparison, and incorrectly declaring dictionaries.

We also provided additional resources, such as tutorials and online courses, that can help learners improve their syntax and avoid these errors in the future. Understanding and applying proper syntax in programming is crucial for writing clean and effective code.

Remembering these tips can help prevent SyntaxErrors and lead to successful programming.

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