syntax error in first-time user script

Bob Gailer bgailer at
Fri Mar 24 10:11:04 EDT 2017

On Mar 24, 2017 4:53 AM, "john polo" <jpolo at> wrote:
> Greetings,
> I am attempting to learn Python. I have no programming background. I'm on
a computer with Windows 7. I checked the PATH in System Variables and
Python and Python\Scripts are in the path. I have a book, Python for
Biologists and it supplies example scripts, one is called The
output from is
> Comments are very useful!
> I use cd to get to the directory with the example scripts

We can assume you are at a Windows command prompt. It' a good idea too tell
us that,  so we don't have to assume!

and open a command prompt with "python" and get the prompt.

Assumptions / terminology again! Typing "python" normally invokes the
python interpreter. Since you did not pass any arguments you get a window
displaying the python interpreter prompt (>>>).

I type
> "python"
> and get
> "    File "<stdin>", line 1
>         python
>                                     ^
> SyntaxError: invalid syntax

It is great (as John said) that you provided the traceback. It would have
been even greater if you had given us the rest e.g,

Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.14393]
(c) 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Users\bgailer>cd /examples

Python 3.3.5 (v3.3.5:62cf4e77f785, Mar  9 2014, 10:35:05) [MSC v.1600 64
bit (AMD64)] on win32
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> python
  File "<stdin>", line 1
SyntaxError: invalid syntax

Which brings up one other important matter: when writing us also tell us
which python version you are using. In my example it is 3.3.5.
> Sorry, I realize this may not all line up like it does when I'm typing
this in the email. The caret/error pointer is under the t in comment. I am
not sure what is causing this error.
> If I type
> "import"
> the output is
> "Comments are very useful!
> Traceback (most recent call last):
>     File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
> ModuleNotFoundError: No module named ''; 'comment'
> "
> If I use IDLE shell:
> "python"
> "SyntaxError: invalid syntax"
> I know I can open the file in the editor and use F5, but shouldn't I be
able to use a command from shell? How do I run from a command
line without error? Or is that not possible?
> cheers,
> John
> --

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