New guy question

D-Man dsh8290 at
Sat Jun 9 22:03:37 EDT 2001

On Sat, Jun 09, 2001 at 11:28:51PM +0000, Glen Mettler wrote:
| I have a small script I entered from a Python book that works when I run it
| using F5.
| However, when I go to the console and enter python, I get an error
| message:
| >>> python
| SyntaxError: invalid syntax
| I am too new to this to know why.

As Alex indicated, it is not a problem with understanding python.  I
have seen that "new" Wintel-PC users often don't know what a shell is.
A "shell" is a prompt provided by the OS to enter commands.  On
"Wintel" boxes it used to be called DOS.  Now it is either called
"MS-DOS Prompt" or "Command Prompt" and can be found under the Start
menu.  On a Unix system their are many different shells, and the shell
is the first thing you will learn.  A shell is where you would type
things like "cd" "copy" "del", etc.  There you can type "python" (assuming is in the current directory) to run the
program.  The prompt (for a DOS shell) is "C:\>" or something similar.

You have the "Python Interactive Interpreter" there, indicated by the
">>>" prompt.  In this shell-like window you can enter python
statements only.  No OS commands are allowed because they aren't
python code.

If you have any more questions re shells and DOS/Windows feel free to
ask.  You may also be interested in the "Tutor" list,
tutor at


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