Python try…except comma vs 'as' in except


What is the difference between ‘,’ and ‘as’ in except statements, eg:

except Exception, exception:


except Exception as exception:

Is the second syntax legal in 2.6? It works in CPython 2.6 on Windows but the 2.5 interpreter in cygwin complains that it is invalid.

If they are both valid in 2.6 which should I use?

Asked By: Peter Graham



the “as” syntax is the preferred one going forward, however if your code needs to work with older Python versions (2.6 is the first to support the new one) then you’ll need to use the comma syntax.

Answered By: Alex Gaynor

The definitive document is PEP-3110: Catching Exceptions


  • In Python 3.x, using as is required to assign an exception to a variable.
  • In Python 2.6+, use the as syntax, since it is far less ambiguous and forward compatible with Python 3.x.
  • In Python 2.5 and earlier, use the comma version, since as isn’t supported.
Answered By: Amber

Yes it’s legal. I’m running Python 2.6

    [] + 3
except Exception as x:
    print "woo hoo"

woo hoo

Update: There is another reason to use the as syntax. Using , makes things a lot more ambiguous, as others have pointed out; and here’s what makes the difference. As of Python 2.6, there is multicatch which allows you to catch multiple exceptions in one except block. In such a situation, it’s more expressive and pythonic to say

except (exception1, exception2) as e

rather than to say

except (exception1, exception2), e

which would still work

Answered By: inspectorG4dget

If you want to support all python versions you can use the sys.exc_info() function like this:

    a = 1/'0'
except (ZeroDivisionError, TypeError):
    e = sys.exc_info()[1]


Answered By: pthomaid

As of Python 3.7 (not sure about other versions) the ‘comma’ syntax is not supported any more:

Source file

    result = 1/0
except Exception, e:
    print("An error occurred")

  • $ python --version --> Python 2.7.10
$ python
An error occurred
  • $ python3 --version --> Python 3.7.2
$ python3
  File "", line 3
    except Exception, e:
SyntaxError: invalid syntax
Answered By: Marcello Romani
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