SyntaxError: Unexpected Character After Line Continuation Character in Python

SyntaxError: Unexpected Character After Line Continuation Character in Python

  1. What Is a Line Continuation Character
  2. the SyntaxError: unexpected character after line continuation character in Python

In this tutorial, we aim to explore different methods to solve the SyntaxError: unexpected character after line continuation character.

Before we begin, let us try to explore the concept of a line continuation character.

What Is a Line Continuation Character

A line continuation character is used to separate multiple sentences in a single sentence. This is done using the backslash \ character and placed at the end of the line.

An example of using the line continuation character in a code is below.

#
demo_string = 'Welcome to ' \
	'delftstack. ' \
	'Here you can find ' \
	'programming tutorials.'
print(demo_string)

The output of the code above can be illustrated as follows.

Welcome to delftstack. Here you can find programming tutorials.

the SyntaxError: unexpected character after line continuation character in Python

One might encounter the SyntaxError: unexpected character after line continuation character error.

But before doing that, let’s understand why this particular error occurs. Moreover, it is important to understand the different scenarios that could raise this error and throw it to our console whenever we write erroneous code.

The unexpected character after line continuation character is a syntax error. It occurs because we have made a mistake in writing the correct syntax in our code.

Below are different scenarios where we encounter this error.

Incorrect Use of the Division Operator

The first scenario is using the division operator incorrectly.

Let us try to replicate this error. This can be done with the help of the following block of code.

print(20\5)

Output:

print(20\5)
         ^
SyntaxError: unexpected character after line continuation character

The problem is that instead of using the division operator like /, we have mistakenly used it like \.

This error can be solved by changing \ to /.

print(20/5)

Output:

4.0

Adding a Character After the Line Continuation Character \

Another scenario is when we put a character after the line continuation character \. For example, we put a comma after it.

print("I love to code in" \,
"Python language" \
"so much.")

The output of the code above can be illustrated as follows.

print("I love to code in" \,
                           ^
SyntaxError: unexpected character after line continuation character

We can solve this error by ensuring that there are no characters after the line continuation character. In this example, we should remove the comma after the first line continuation character.

print("I love to code in " \
"Python language " \
"so much.")

Output:

I love to code in Python language so much.

Incorrect Use of the New Line Character `

`

In this scenario, we will write a program that writes a list of animals to a text file. We open the text file using the code below.

animals = [
"dog",
"cat",
"bird"
]

with open("animals.txt", "w+") as animals_file:
    for a in animals:
        animals_file.write(a + \n)

Output:

animals_file.write(a + \n)
                        ^
SyntaxError: unexpected character after line continuation character

We can solve this by enclosing \n in quotations "\n".

animals = [
"dog",
"cat",
"bird"
]

with open("animals.txt", "w+") as animals_file:
    for a in animals:
        animals_file.write(a + "\n")

Output in animals.txt file:

dog
cat
bird

Thus, with this tutorial, we have successfully ventured to understand how the syntax-based SyntaxError: unexpected character after line continuation character error can be resolved in Python.

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