The parser repeats the offending line and displays a little 'arrow' pointing at the earliest point in the line where the error was detected. The error is caused by (or at least detected at) the token _preceding_the arrow.

This screenshot is taken from Python Documentary. I wanted to know what does earliest point mean here? (I have marked it with a red line). Does it mean the first point where an error was detected?

2 Answers 2


Yes- specifically, not just the earliest point, but the earliest point on a line where the syntax error occurred.

  • Thanks! I wanted to upvote your answer but my low reputation on this site doesn't let me to do so. Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 20:06
  • No problem! There is at least one place where we all have a "low reputation" and no one there cares about what we think. ;)
    – Gary
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 20:08

Hey @GforOevOerD (forever good, I like that). Just to add to the answer by @Gary: the word "point" as you probably know by now has many meanings:

  • a point in space - "The point you see on this map is where the robbery took place."
  • a point in time - "I'll finish my homework at some point tonight."
  • an argument - "She made a valid point about hiring another person for the team."
  • purpose, reason - "There is no point in continuing with your lies - we know the truth."
  • etc

So "the earliest point in the line where the error was detected" means "the first location (i.e. character) in the line where the error was detected"

  • Thank you so much. This answer also helped me a lot. But i can't upvote your answer due to low points of reputation. Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 12:35
  • Haha that's OK - I'm not doing this for the points.
    – RuslanD
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 18:14

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