Unrecognized escape sequences in string literals

Douglas Alan darkwater42 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 10 09:57:18 CEST 2009

On Aug 10, 2:10 am, Steven D'Aprano

> I've never had any errors caused by this.

But you've seen an error caused by this, in this very discussion.
I.e., "foo\xbar".

"\xba" isn't an escape sequence in any other language that I've used,
which is one reason I made this error... Oh, wait a minute -- it *is*
an escape sequence in JavaScript. But in JavaScript, while "\xba" is a
special character, "\xb" is synonymous with "xb".

The fact that every language seems to treat these things similarly but
differently, is yet another reason why they should just be treated
utterly consistently by all of the languages: I.e., escape sequences
that don't have a special meaning should be an error!

> I've never seen anyone write to
> this newsgroup confused over escape behaviour,

My friend objects strongly the claim that he is "confused" by it, so I
guess you are right that no one is confused. He just thinks that it
violates the beautiful sense of aesthetics that he was sworn over and
over again Python to have.

But aesthetics is a non-negligible issue with practical ramifications.
(Not that anything can be done about this wart at this point,

> or asking for help with an error caused by it, and until
> this thread, never seen anyone complain about it either.

Oh, this bothered me too when I first learned Python, and I thought it
was stupid. It just didn't bother me enough to complain publicly.

Besides, the vast majority of Python noobs don't come here, despite
appearance sometimes, and by the time most people get here, they've
probably got bigger fish to fry.


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