Python SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop Solution

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Python SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop Solution
vinaykhatri

Vinay Khatri
Last updated on February 28, 2024

    While writing code in Python, we need to follow some rules, that define how the code must be written, which is also known as syntax. Every individual statement has its own syntax. And if we do not follow that syntax, Python raises the SyntaxError Exception.

    The continue is a Python keyword and a loop control statement. It can only be written inside the loop body, and if we try to use it outside the loop, there Python will raise the SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop error.

    This Python guide discusses the following error in detail and demonstrates a common example scenario with a solution. By the end of this article, you will have a complete idea of what is SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop Error in Python, why it occurs, and how to debug it.

    Python Problem: SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop

    This error raises in a Python program when the continue statement is written outside the for or while loop body.

    Example

    age = 20
    if age>=18:
        print("You are eligible to get the vaccine ")
        continue
    else:
        print("You are not Eligible for vaccing")

    output

      File "main.py", line 4
        continue
        ^
    SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop

    The error statement has two sub statements separated with a colon : .

    1. SyntaxError
    2. 'continue' not properly in the loop

    1. SyntaxError

    SyntaxError is one of Python's standard exceptions. Python parser raises this exception when it finds some statement is not following the defined syntax.

    2. 'continue' not properly in the loop

    This is the error message, telling us that the continue keyword is not inside the loop body. We only receive this error message when we use the continue keyword outside the loop body. In the above example, we have used the continue in the if..else body, that's why Python's parser raised the error.

    Common Example Scenario

    continue can only be used within the for or while loop body, and it continues to the next iteration of the loop. Inside the loop we can use it anywhere, generally, we put it inside the if..else condition so it can only execute for specific conditions not for every iteration.

    Example

    Let's create an input validator that asks the user to enter a valid 4 digit passcode between 1000 to 9999. And if the user enters the valid number we will display a message that "the passcode is valid" if not we will display the message that "the passcode is invalid" and ask the user to enter the passcode again.

    passcode = int(input("Enter a valid 4 digit passcode (1000 to 9999): "))
    
    #if passcode is not valid
    if not (passcode >=1000 and passcode <=9999):
        print("Your Passcode is Not valid \n Please enter again ")
        continue
    else:
        print("The entered Passcode is valid")

    Output

      File "main.py", line 6
        continue
        ^
    SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop

    Break the code

    Python is raising the error in the above example because the continue statement is not inside any loop statement. The logic we have put in the above example misses the loop statement.

    Solution

    To solve the above problem we need to put all the code inside the while loop statement with the default condition True, which will make the loop infinite. And the user can only exit that loop when it enters the valid passcode.

    while True:
        passcode = int(input("Enter a valid 4 digit passcode (1000 to 9999): "))
    
        #if passcode is not valid
        if not (passcode >=1000 and passcode <=9999):
            print("Your Passcode is Not valid \nPlease enter again ")
            continue
        else:
            #if the passcode is valid print the statement and get out of the loop
            print("The entered Passcode is valid")
            break

    Output

    Enter a valid 4 digit passcode (1000 to 9999): 99999
    Your Passcode is Not valid
    Please enter again
    Enter a valid 4 digit passcode (1000 to 9999): 9898
    The entered Passcode is vaid

    Now the Python script runs without any SyntaxError.

    Conclusion

    While working with the loops we get two-loop control keywords continue and break . These two keywords are exclusive for loop statements (for and while). And if we use these keywords outside the loop code block we receive the Syntax Error with an error message. For the continue outside the loop scope, Python throws the 'continue' not properly in loop Error and for break it throws 'break' outside the loop error.

    This error is very common in Python, and debugging it is also very easy. The only thing you need to keep in mind that, you can not use these two keywords outside the loop scope. If you are still getting this error in your Python program, please share your code in the comment section. We will try to help you in debugging.

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