why does "help(import)" not work?

Bruno Desthuilliers bruno.42.desthuilliers at websiteburo.invalid
Fri Nov 6 11:12:38 CET 2009


Robert P. J. Day a écrit :
>   i'm sure there's a painfully obvious answer to this, but is there a
> reason i can't do:
> 
>>>> help(import)

Yes, there's a very painfully obvious reason : 'import' is a statement, 
'help' is a function, and you can't (syntactically) pass a statement as 
an argument to function !-)

>   File "<stdin>", line 1
>     help(import)
>               ^
> SyntaxError: invalid syntax
> 
>   on the other hand, i can certainly go into "help()" and type
> "import" to get that help.  it seems counter-intuitive to have the
> first variation fail but the second succeed.

Would you find it more "intuitive" to have different syntactic rules for 
the interactive shell ?-)

FWIW, the way to get help on a statement (or on a non-already defined 
name) is to pass a string to help, ie:

help("import")

HTH



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