How to fix UnboundLocalError: local variable 'x' referenced before assignment in Python

by Nathan Sebhastian

Posted on May 26, 2023

Reading time: 2 minutes

flask local variable 'session' referenced before assignment

One error you might encounter when running Python code is:

This error commonly occurs when you reference a variable inside a function without first assigning it a value.

You could also see this error when you forget to pass the variable as an argument to your function.

Let me show you an example that causes this error and how I fix it in practice.

How to reproduce this error

Suppose you have a variable called name declared in your Python code as follows:

Next, you created a function that uses the name variable as shown below:

When you execute the code above, you’ll get this error:

This error occurs because you both assign and reference a variable called name inside the function.

Python thinks you’re trying to assign the local variable name to name , which is not the case here because the original name variable we declared is a global variable.

How to fix this error

To resolve this error, you can change the variable’s name inside the function to something else. For example, name_with_title should work:

As an alternative, you can specify a name parameter in the greet() function to indicate that you require a variable to be passed to the function.

When calling the function, you need to pass a variable as follows:

This code allows Python to know that you intend to use the name variable which is passed as an argument to the function as part of the newly declared name variable.

Still, I would say that you need to use a different name when declaring a variable inside the function. Using the same name might confuse you in the future.

Here’s the best solution to the error:

Now it’s clear that we’re using the name variable given to the function as part of the value assigned to name_with_title . Way to go!

The UnboundLocalError: local variable 'x' referenced before assignment occurs when you reference a variable inside a function before declaring that variable.

To resolve this error, you need to use a different variable name when referencing the existing variable, or you can also specify a parameter for the function.

I hope this tutorial is useful. See you in other tutorials.

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How to Fix Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment Error in Python

How to Fix Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment Error in Python

Table of Contents

Fixing local variable referenced before assignment error.

In Python , when you try to reference a variable that hasn't yet been given a value (assigned), it will throw an error.

That error will look like this:

In this post, we'll see examples of what causes this and how to fix it.

Let's begin by looking at an example of this error:

If you run this code, you'll get

The issue is that in this line:

We are defining a local variable called value and then trying to use it before it has been assigned a value, instead of using the variable that we defined in the first line.

If we want to refer the variable that was defined in the first line, we can make use of the global keyword.

The global keyword is used to refer to a variable that is defined outside of a function.

Let's look at how using global can fix our issue here:

Global variables have global scope, so you can referenced them anywhere in your code, thus avoiding the error.

If you run this code, you'll get this output:

In this post, we learned at how to avoid the local variable referenced before assignment error in Python.

The error stems from trying to refer to a variable without an assigned value, so either make use of a global variable using the global keyword, or assign the variable a value before using it.

Thanks for reading!

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Local variable referenced before assignment in Python

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Last updated: Apr 8, 2024 Reading time · 4 min

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# Local variable referenced before assignment in Python

The Python "UnboundLocalError: Local variable referenced before assignment" occurs when we reference a local variable before assigning a value to it in a function.

To solve the error, mark the variable as global in the function definition, e.g. global my_var .

unboundlocalerror local variable name referenced before assignment

Here is an example of how the error occurs.

We assign a value to the name variable in the function.

# Mark the variable as global to solve the error

To solve the error, mark the variable as global in your function definition.

mark variable as global

If a variable is assigned a value in a function's body, it is a local variable unless explicitly declared as global .

# Local variables shadow global ones with the same name

You could reference the global name variable from inside the function but if you assign a value to the variable in the function's body, the local variable shadows the global one.

accessing global variables in functions

Accessing the name variable in the function is perfectly fine.

On the other hand, variables declared in a function cannot be accessed from the global scope.

variables declared in function cannot be accessed in global scope

The name variable is declared in the function, so trying to access it from outside causes an error.

Make sure you don't try to access the variable before using the global keyword, otherwise, you'd get the SyntaxError: name 'X' is used prior to global declaration error.

# Returning a value from the function instead

An alternative solution to using the global keyword is to return a value from the function and use the value to reassign the global variable.

return value from the function

We simply return the value that we eventually use to assign to the name global variable.

# Passing the global variable as an argument to the function

You should also consider passing the global variable as an argument to the function.

pass global variable as argument to function

We passed the name global variable as an argument to the function.

If we assign a value to a variable in a function, the variable is assumed to be local unless explicitly declared as global .

# Assigning a value to a local variable from an outer scope

If you have a nested function and are trying to assign a value to the local variables from the outer function, use the nonlocal keyword.

assign value to local variable from outer scope

The nonlocal keyword allows us to work with the local variables of enclosing functions.

Had we not used the nonlocal statement, the call to the print() function would have returned an empty string.

not using nonlocal prints empty string

Printing the message variable on the last line of the function shows an empty string because the inner() function has its own scope.

Changing the value of the variable in the inner scope is not possible unless we use the nonlocal keyword.

Instead, the message variable in the inner function simply shadows the variable with the same name from the outer scope.

# Discussion

As shown in this section of the documentation, when you assign a value to a variable inside a function, the variable:

  • Becomes local to the scope.
  • Shadows any variables from the outer scope that have the same name.

The last line in the example function assigns a value to the name variable, marking it as a local variable and shadowing the name variable from the outer scope.

At the time the print(name) line runs, the name variable is not yet initialized, which causes the error.

The most intuitive way to solve the error is to use the global keyword.

The global keyword is used to indicate to Python that we are actually modifying the value of the name variable from the outer scope.

  • If a variable is only referenced inside a function, it is implicitly global.
  • If a variable is assigned a value inside a function's body, it is assumed to be local, unless explicitly marked as global .

If you want to read more about why this error occurs, check out [this section] ( this section ) of the docs.

# Additional Resources

You can learn more about the related topics by checking out the following tutorials:

  • SyntaxError: name 'X' is used prior to global declaration

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Python UnboundLocalError: local variable referenced before assignment

by Suf | Programming , Python , Tips

If you try to reference a local variable before assigning a value to it within the body of a function, you will encounter the UnboundLocalError: local variable referenced before assignment.

The preferable way to solve this error is to pass parameters to your function, for example:

Alternatively, you can declare the variable as global to access it while inside a function. For example,

This tutorial will go through the error in detail and how to solve it with code examples .

Table of contents

What is scope in python, unboundlocalerror: local variable referenced before assignment, solution #1: passing parameters to the function, solution #2: use global keyword, solution #1: include else statement, solution #2: use global keyword.

Scope refers to a variable being only available inside the region where it was created. A variable created inside a function belongs to the local scope of that function, and we can only use that variable inside that function.

A variable created in the main body of the Python code is a global variable and belongs to the global scope. Global variables are available within any scope, global and local.

UnboundLocalError occurs when we try to modify a variable defined as local before creating it. If we only need to read a variable within a function, we can do so without using the global keyword. Consider the following example that demonstrates a variable var created with global scope and accessed from test_func :

If we try to assign a value to var within test_func , the Python interpreter will raise the UnboundLocalError:

This error occurs because when we make an assignment to a variable in a scope, that variable becomes local to that scope and overrides any variable with the same name in the global or outer scope.

var +=1 is similar to var = var + 1 , therefore the Python interpreter should first read var , perform the addition and assign the value back to var .

var is a variable local to test_func , so the variable is read or referenced before we have assigned it. As a result, the Python interpreter raises the UnboundLocalError.

Example #1: Accessing a Local Variable

Let’s look at an example where we define a global variable number. We will use the increment_func to increase the numerical value of number by 1.

Let’s run the code to see what happens:

The error occurs because we tried to read a local variable before assigning a value to it.

We can solve this error by passing a parameter to increment_func . This solution is the preferred approach. Typically Python developers avoid declaring global variables unless they are necessary. Let’s look at the revised code:

We have assigned a value to number and passed it to the increment_func , which will resolve the UnboundLocalError. Let’s run the code to see the result:

We successfully printed the value to the console.

We also can solve this error by using the global keyword. The global statement tells the Python interpreter that inside increment_func , the variable number is a global variable even if we assign to it in increment_func . Let’s look at the revised code:

Let’s run the code to see the result:

Example #2: Function with if-elif statements

Let’s look at an example where we collect a score from a player of a game to rank their level of expertise. The variable we will use is called score and the calculate_level function takes in score as a parameter and returns a string containing the player’s level .

In the above code, we have a series of if-elif statements for assigning a string to the level variable. Let’s run the code to see what happens:

The error occurs because we input a score equal to 40 . The conditional statements in the function do not account for a value below 55 , therefore when we call the calculate_level function, Python will attempt to return level without any value assigned to it.

We can solve this error by completing the set of conditions with an else statement. The else statement will provide an assignment to level for all scores lower than 55 . Let’s look at the revised code:

In the above code, all scores below 55 are given the beginner level. Let’s run the code to see what happens:

We can also create a global variable level and then use the global keyword inside calculate_level . Using the global keyword will ensure that the variable is available in the local scope of the calculate_level function. Let’s look at the revised code.

In the above code, we put the global statement inside the function and at the beginning. Note that the “default” value of level is beginner and we do not include the else statement in the function. Let’s run the code to see the result:

Congratulations on reading to the end of this tutorial! The UnboundLocalError: local variable referenced before assignment occurs when you try to reference a local variable before assigning a value to it. Preferably, you can solve this error by passing parameters to your function. Alternatively, you can use the global keyword.

If you have if-elif statements in your code where you assign a value to a local variable and do not account for all outcomes, you may encounter this error. In which case, you must include an else statement to account for the missing outcome.

For further reading on Python code blocks and structure, go to the article: How to Solve Python IndentationError: unindent does not match any outer indentation level .

Go to the  online courses page on Python  to learn more about Python for data science and machine learning.

Have fun and happy researching!

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UnboundLocalError Local variable Referenced Before Assignment in Python

Handling errors is an integral part of writing robust and reliable Python code. One common stumbling block that developers often encounter is the “UnboundLocalError” raised within a try-except block. This error can be perplexing for those unfamiliar with its nuances but fear not – in this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the UnboundLocalError and provide a comprehensive guide on how to effectively use try-except statements to resolve it.

What is UnboundLocalError Local variable Referenced Before Assignment in Python?

The UnboundLocalError occurs when a local variable is referenced before it has been assigned a value within a function or method. This error typically surfaces when utilizing try-except blocks to handle exceptions, creating a puzzle for developers trying to comprehend its origins and find a solution.

Why does UnboundLocalError: Local variable Referenced Before Assignment Occur?

below, are the reasons of occurring “Unboundlocalerror: Try Except Statements” in Python :

Variable Assignment Inside Try Block

Reassigning a global variable inside except block.

  • Accessing a Variable Defined Inside an If Block

In the below code, example_function attempts to execute some_operation within a try-except block. If an exception occurs, it prints an error message. However, if no exception occurs, it prints the value of the variable result outside the try block, leading to an UnboundLocalError since result might not be defined if an exception was caught.

In below code , modify_global function attempts to increment the global variable global_var within a try block, but it raises an UnboundLocalError. This error occurs because the function treats global_var as a local variable due to the assignment operation within the try block.

Solution for UnboundLocalError Local variable Referenced Before Assignment

Below, are the approaches to solve “Unboundlocalerror: Try Except Statements”.

Initialize Variables Outside the Try Block

Avoid reassignment of global variables.

In modification to the example_function is correct. Initializing the variable result before the try block ensures that it exists even if an exception occurs within the try block. This helps prevent UnboundLocalError when trying to access result in the print statement outside the try block.

Below, code calculates a new value ( local_var ) based on the global variable and then prints both the local and global variables separately. It demonstrates that the global variable is accessed directly without being reassigned within the function.

In conclusion , To fix “UnboundLocalError” related to try-except statements, ensure that variables used within the try block are initialized before the try block starts. This can be achieved by declaring the variables with default values or assigning them None outside the try block. Additionally, when modifying global variables within a try block, use the `global` keyword to explicitly declare them.

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4 ways to fix local variable referenced before assignment error in python, resolving the local variable referenced before assignment error in python.

Python is one of the world’s most popular programming languages due to its simplicity, readability, and versatility. Despite its many advantages, when coding in Python, one may encounter various errors, with the most common being the “local variable referenced before assignment” error.

Even the most experienced Python developers have encountered this error at some point in their programming career. In this article, we will look at four effective strategies for resolving the local variable referenced before assignment error in Python.

Strategy 1: Assigning a Value before Referencing

The first strategy is to assign a value to a variable before referencing it. The error occurs when the variable is referenced before it is assigned a value.

This problem can be avoided by initializing the variable before referencing it. For example, let us consider the snippet below:

“`python

add_numbers():

print(x + y)

add_numbers()

In the snippet above, the variables `x` and `y` are not assigned values before they are referenced in the `print` statement. Therefore, we will get a local variable “referenced before assignment” error.

To resolve this error, we must initialize the variables before referencing them. We can avoid this error by assigning a value to `x` and `y` before they are referenced, as shown below:

Strategy 2: Using the Global Keyword

In Python, variables declared inside a function are considered local variables. Thus, they are separate from other variables declared outside of the function.

If we want to use a variable outside of the function, we must use the global keyword. Using the global keyword tells Python that you want to use the variable that was defined globally, not locally.

For example:

In the code snippet above, the `global` keyword tells Python to use the variable `x` defined outside of the function rather than a local variable named `x`. Thus, Python will output 30.

Strategy 3: Adding Input Parameters for Functions

Another way to avoid the local variable referenced before assignment error is by adding input parameters to functions.

def add_numbers(x, y):

add_numbers(10, 20)

In the code snippet above, `x` and `y` are variables that are passed into the `add_numbers` function as arguments.

This approach allows us to avoid the local variable referenced before assignment error because the variables are being passed into the function as input parameters. Strategy 4: Initializing Variables before Loops or Conditionals

Finally, it’s also a good practice to initialize the variables before loops or conditionals.

If you are defining a variable within a loop, you must initialize it before the loop starts. This way, the variable already exists, and we can update the value inside the loop.

my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

for number in my_list:

sum += number

In the code snippet above, the variable `sum` has been initialized with the value of 0 before the loop runs. Thus, we can update and use the variable inside the loop.

In conclusion, the “local variable referenced before assignment” error is a common issue in Python. However, with the strategies discussed in this article, you can avoid the error and write clean Python code.

Remember to initialize your variables, use the global keyword, add input parameters in functions, and initialize variables before loops or conditionals. By following these techniques, your Python code will be error-free and much easier to manage.

In essence, this article has provided four key strategies for resolving the “local variable referenced before assignment” error that is common in Python. These strategies include initializing variables before referencing, using the global keyword, adding input parameters to functions, and initializing variables before loops or conditionals.

These techniques help to ensure clean code that is free from errors. By implementing these strategies, developers can improve their code quality and avoid time-wasting errors that can occur in their work.

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UnboundLocalError: local variable 'results' referenced before assignment #605

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ShenYuhan commented May 18, 2020 • edited by Steffy-zxf

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Vulnerability Summary for the Week of May 20, 2024

The CISA Vulnerability Bulletin provides a summary of new vulnerabilities that have been recorded by the  National Institute of Standards and Technology  (NIST)  National Vulnerability Database  (NVD) in the past week. NVD is sponsored by CISA. In some cases, the vulnerabilities in the bulletin may not yet have assigned CVSS scores. Please visit NVD for updated vulnerability entries, which include CVSS scores once they are available.

Vulnerabilities are based on the  Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures  (CVE) vulnerability naming standard and are organized according to severity, determined by the  Common Vulnerability Scoring System  (CVSS) standard. The division of high, medium, and low severities correspond to the following scores:

  • High : vulnerabilities with a CVSS base score of 7.0–10.0
  • Medium : vulnerabilities with a CVSS base score of 4.0–6.9
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Entries may include additional information provided by organizations and efforts sponsored by CISA. This information may include identifying information, values, definitions, and related links. Patch information is provided when available. Please note that some of the information in the bulletin is compiled from external, open-source reports and is not a direct result of CISA analysis.  

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