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Python Files – Python Errors and Built-in Exceptions

In this tutorial, you will learn about different types of errors and exceptions that are built-in to Python. They are raised whenever the Python interpreter encounters errors.

We can make certain mistakes while writing a program that lead to errors when we try to run it. A python program terminates as soon as it encounters an unhandled error. These errors can be broadly classified into two classes:

  1. Syntax errors
  2. Logical errors (Exceptions)

Python Syntax Errors

Error caused by not following the proper structure (syntax) of the language is called syntax error or parsing error.

Let’s look at one example:

>>> if a < 3
  File "<interactive input>", line 1
    if a < 3
           ^
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

As shown in the example, an arrow indicates where the parser ran into the syntax error.

We can notice here that a colon : is missing in the if statement.


Python Logical Errors (Exceptions)

Errors that occur at runtime (after passing the syntax test) are called exceptions or logical errors.

For instance, they occur when we try to open a file(for reading) that does not exist (FileNotFoundError), try to divide a number by zero (ZeroDivisionError), or try to import a module that does not exist (ImportError).

Whenever these types of runtime errors occur, Python creates an exception object. If not handled properly, it prints a traceback to that error along with some details about why that error occurred.

Let’s look at how Python treats these errors:

>>> 1 / 0
Traceback (most recent call last):
 File "<string>", line 301, in runcode
 File "<interactive input>", line 1, in <module>
ZeroDivisionError: division by zero

>>> open("imaginary.txt")
Traceback (most recent call last):
 File "<string>", line 301, in runcode
 File "<interactive input>", line 1, in <module>
FileNotFoundError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: 'imaginary.txt'

Python Built-in Exceptions

Illegal operations can raise exceptions. There are plenty of built-in exceptions in Python that are raised when corresponding errors occur. We can view all the built-in exceptions using the built-in local() function as follows:

print(dir(locals()['__builtins__']))

locals()['__builtins__'] will return a module of built-in exceptions, functions, and attributes. dir allows us to list these attributes as strings.

Some of the common built-in exceptions in Python programming along with the error that cause them are listed below:

ExceptionCause of Error
AssertionErrorRaised when an assert statement fails.
AttributeErrorRaised when attribute assignment or reference fails.
EOFErrorRaised when the input() function hits end-of-file condition.
FloatingPointErrorRaised when a floating point operation fails.
GeneratorExitRaise when a generator’s close() method is called.
ImportErrorRaised when the imported module is not found.
IndexErrorRaised when the index of a sequence is out of range.
KeyErrorRaised when a key is not found in a dictionary.
KeyboardInterruptRaised when the user hits the interrupt key (Ctrl+C or Delete).
MemoryErrorRaised when an operation runs out of memory.
NameErrorRaised when a variable is not found in local or global scope.
NotImplementedErrorRaised by abstract methods.
OSErrorRaised when system operation causes system related error.
OverflowErrorRaised when the result of an arithmetic operation is too large to be represented.
ReferenceErrorRaised when a weak reference proxy is used to access a garbage collected referent.
RuntimeErrorRaised when an error does not fall under any other category.
StopIterationRaised by next() function to indicate that there is no further item to be returned by iterator.
SyntaxErrorRaised by parser when syntax error is encountered.
IndentationErrorRaised when there is incorrect indentation.
TabErrorRaised when indentation consists of inconsistent tabs and spaces.
SystemErrorRaised when interpreter detects internal error.
SystemExitRaised by sys.exit() function.
TypeErrorRaised when a function or operation is applied to an object of incorrect type.
UnboundLocalErrorRaised when a reference is made to a local variable in a function or method, but no value has been bound to that variable.
UnicodeErrorRaised when a Unicode-related encoding or decoding error occurs.
UnicodeEncodeErrorRaised when a Unicode-related error occurs during encoding.
UnicodeDecodeErrorRaised when a Unicode-related error occurs during decoding.
UnicodeTranslateErrorRaised when a Unicode-related error occurs during translating.
ValueErrorRaised when a function gets an argument of correct type but improper value.
ZeroDivisionErrorRaised when the second operand of division or modulo operation is zero.

If required, we can also define our own exceptions in Python. To learn more about them, visit Python User-defined Exceptions.

We can handle these built-in and user-defined exceptions in Python using try, except and finally statements. To learn more about them, visit Python try, except and finally statements.

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