How to Fix Syntax Errors
Fixing syntax errors is essential in computer programming: the program will not work until the errors are corrected. Syntax errors mean the program can't understand commands based on the programming language's rules. In programming, syntax refers to proper command arrangement (like rules of grammar) and spelling. Programmers can resolve syntax errors with the help of Interactive Development Environment debug tools and manual code-checking best practices.
Misplaced and Missing Punctuation
Punctuation symbols tell the system where commands end, how code is grouped together and how to call different parts of the code. IDE debugging efficiently catches misplaced and missing punctuation errors. While different programming languages have a wide-range of different punctuation uses, there are general rules to guide you. For example, ending a line of code with a colon instead of a semicolon in the C++ programming language is an incorrect character and causes a syntax error.
Containing Commands with Punctuation
Improperly Used Commands
The IDE debugging system easily identifies incorrectly used commands. For example, the program will have a syntax error if you have a number that's stored as a string like "22" and try to add another number to it. The program treats strings, even if they are numbers, as text. While the IDE will identify where the number and string are added together, the programmer needs to trace the code backwards to determine where the string became a string.
Invalid Variable and Function Names
Programming languages that are structured around variables (assigned values) and functions (called code groups) will encounter syntax errors when either data type is used incorrectly. The variable could be set as a string when it should be an integer or a function could be named after a language-reserved command name. Additionally, each language has unique naming rules for what variables and functions can be named such as acceptable character types, case sensitivity, and initial character limitations. For example, the PHP language will not allow variable names to begin with a number.
References & Resources
- PC Magazine Encyclopedia: Definition of: Syntax Error
- Computer Hope Jargon: Syntax
- PC Magazine Encyclopedia: Definition of: Syntax
- Computer Hope Issues: Getting "The Syntax of the Command is Incorrect." Error
- Microsoft Developer Network: Escape Sequences
- Internet Explorer Dev Center: DX Filters are No Longer Supported
- Java2: Valid and Invalid Variable Names