How to fix SyntaxError invalid character in identifier in Python? [3 Examples]

In this Python blog post, I will tell you what SyntaxError invalid character in identifier in Python is. I will explain how this error occurs in Python and how to handle and fix it using different techniques in Python.

I have also explained the following errors with the solution:

  1. syntaxerror: invalid character ‘“’ (u+201c)
  2. syntaxerror: invalid character ‘–’ (u+2013)

Meanwhile, I will also explain what an identifier in Python is and the rules to create an identifier in Python.

SyntaxError are mistakes in the source code of Python, such as spelling and punctuation errors, incorrect labels, and so on, which cause an error message to be generated by the interpreter.

Identifiers in Python

In Python, identifiers are names that identify variables, functions, classes, modules, or other objects. These identifiers play a crucial role in programming as they provide a means to reference various elements within a program.

However, some rules and conventions must be followed when naming identifiers, and one common issue that programmers encounter is the presence of invalid characters in these names.

Rules for identifier in Python

An identifier in Python must hold to certain rules:

  1. It can only contain alphanumeric characters (a-z, A-Z, 0-9) and underscores (_).
  2. The first character cannot be a digit.
  3. It cannot be a reserved word or keyword used by Python itself.
  4. It cannot contain spaces or special characters such as !, @, #, $, %, etc.
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If any character violates these rules, it becomes an invalid character in the identifier and will result in a syntax error when the program is run.

SyntaxError invalid character in identifier in Python

A “SyntaxError: invalid character in identifier” in Python occurs when the interpreter encounters a character in an identifier that violates the rules for naming identifiers.

Reason SyntaxError: invalid character in identifier

  • If you run the code in Python, you may get an invalid character in identifier error because of some character in the middle of a Python variable name or function.
  • We commonly get this error because you have copied some formatted code from any website.

Example:

def check(x):
    if x in range(4, 9):
        print("%s in the range" % str(x))
    else:
        print("not in the range")
check   (5)

After writing the above code, I got the SyntaxError invalid character in identifier in Python in line number 6.

You can see the error, SyntaxError: invalid character in identifier in Python, in the screenshot below.

SyntaxError invalid character in identifier in Python
invalid character in identifier Python

How to fix invalid character in identifier in Python

Here is the list of ways to fix this error in Python.

  • Ensure your identifiers follow the rules: they must start with a letter or underscore, followed by letters, digits, or underscores.
  • Avoid using special characters (except underscore) in identifiers.
  • Check for reserved keywords and refrain from using them as identifiers.
  • Verify the encoding of your source code file if you suspect encoding issues.

Here is an example to fix the SyntaxError invalid character in identifier in Python:

def check(x):
    if x in range(4, 9):
        print("%s in the range" % str(x))
    else:
        print("not in the range")
check(5)

After writing the above code, the output will appear as a “ 5 in the range ” once you print it. Check(5) has been retyped, and the SyntaxError invalid character in identifier in Python is resolved.

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Check the below screenshot the error: invalid character in identifier in Pyhton is resolved.

invalid character in identifier
invalid character in identifier python list

SyntaxError: invalid character ‘“’ (u+201c) error in Python

The “SyntaxError: invalid character ‘“’ (u+201c) in Python” typically occurs when we have copied code from sources like word processors, PDFs, or web pages into our Python script, and it contains characters that are not recognized as valid within Python syntax.

In this case, the character ““” (Unicode U+201C), which is a left double quotation mark, is causing the error.

Example:

print(“Hello, world!”)

Check the below screenshot for syntaxerror: unexpected character after line continuation character.

syntaxerror invalid character '“' (u+201c) in Python

We can replace the non-standard quotation marks with standard ASCII quotation marks (“) in our code to fix this error.

Example:

print("Hello, world!")

Check the screenshot below for unexpected characters after resolving the line continuation character.

python invalid character in identifier

SyntaxError: invalid character ‘–’ (u+2013) in Python

This is similar to the above error. Here, we have a ‘–’ foreign character in the code, and hence, we get the error: SyntaxError: invalid character ‘–’ (u+2013). We can replace it with other valid characters like underscore to solve this.

Conclusion

By holding the above guidelines, we can resolve the SyntaxError invalid character in an identifier in Python and write the syntactically correct and understandable code.

I hope you understand what an identifier in Python is, and the rules for creating an identifier in Python, and also how to solve the syntaxerror: invalid character ‘“’ (u+201c) and syntaxerror: invalid character ‘–’ (u+2013) errors in Python.

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2 thoughts on “How to fix SyntaxError invalid character in identifier in Python? [3 Examples]”

    • Yes, as I said above, this occured for me when I copied some code to test directly on the editor.
      The best way is, copy to a notepad and then from notepad you can copy and paste it in the code editor.

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