Fixing Python UnboundLocalError: Local Variable ‘x’ Accessed Before Assignment

Understanding unboundlocalerror.

The UnboundLocalError in Python occurs when a function tries to access a local variable before it has been assigned a value. Variables in Python have scope that defines their level of visibility throughout the code: global scope, local scope, and nonlocal (in nested functions) scope. This error typically surfaces when using a variable that has not been initialized in the current function’s scope or when an attempt is made to modify a global variable without proper declaration.

Solutions for the Problem

To fix an UnboundLocalError, you need to identify the scope of the problematic variable and ensure it is correctly used within that scope.

Method 1: Initializing the Variable

Make sure to initialize the variable within the function before using it. This is often the simplest fix.

Method 2: Using Global Variables

If you intend to use a global variable and modify its value within a function, you must declare it as global before you use it.

Method 3: Using Nonlocal Variables

If the variable is defined in an outer function and you want to modify it within a nested function, use the nonlocal keyword.

That’s it. Happy coding!

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Python local variable referenced before assignment Solution

When you start introducing functions into your code, you’re bound to encounter an UnboundLocalError at some point. This error is raised when you try to use a variable before it has been assigned in the local context .

In this guide, we talk about what this error means and why it is raised. We walk through an example of this error in action to help you understand how you can solve it.

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What is unboundlocalerror: local variable referenced before assignment.

Trying to assign a value to a variable that does not have local scope can result in this error:

Python has a simple rule to determine the scope of a variable. If a variable is assigned in a function , that variable is local. This is because it is assumed that when you define a variable inside a function you only need to access it inside that function.

There are two variable scopes in Python: local and global. Global variables are accessible throughout an entire program; local variables are only accessible within the function in which they are originally defined.

Let’s take a look at how to solve this error.

An Example Scenario

We’re going to write a program that calculates the grade a student has earned in class.

We start by declaring two variables:

These variables store the numerical and letter grades a student has earned, respectively. By default, the value of “letter” is “F”. Next, we write a function that calculates a student’s letter grade based on their numerical grade using an “if” statement :

Finally, we call our function:

This line of code prints out the value returned by the calculate_grade() function to the console. We pass through one parameter into our function: numerical. This is the numerical value of the grade a student has earned.

Let’s run our code and see what happens:

An error has been raised.

The Solution

Our code returns an error because we reference “letter” before we assign it.

We have set the value of “numerical” to 42. Our if statement does not set a value for any grade over 50. This means that when we call our calculate_grade() function, our return statement does not know the value to which we are referring.

We do define “letter” at the start of our program. However, we define it in the global context. Python treats “return letter” as trying to return a local variable called “letter”, not a global variable.

We solve this problem in two ways. First, we can add an else statement to our code. This ensures we declare “letter” before we try to return it:

Let’s try to run our code again:

Our code successfully prints out the student’s grade.

If you are using an “if” statement where you declare a variable, you should make sure there is an “else” statement in place. This will make sure that even if none of your if statements evaluate to True, you can still set a value for the variable with which you are going to work.

Alternatively, we could use the “global” keyword to make our global keyword available in the local context in our calculate_grade() function. However, this approach is likely to lead to more confusing code and other issues. In general, variables should not be declared using “global” unless absolutely necessary . Your first, and main, port of call should always be to make sure that a variable is correctly defined.

In the example above, for instance, we did not check that the variable “letter” was defined in all use cases.

That’s it! We have fixed the local variable error in our code.

The UnboundLocalError: local variable referenced before assignment error is raised when you try to assign a value to a local variable before it has been declared. You can solve this error by ensuring that a local variable is declared before you assign it a value.

Now you’re ready to solve UnboundLocalError Python errors like a professional developer !

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Local variable referenced before assignment in Python

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Last updated: Feb 17, 2023 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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Fixing ‘UnboundLocalError’ in Python: A Simple Guide with Code Samples

Python is a popular programming language that is widely used for developing various applications. However, like any other programming language, it is not free from errors. One of the common errors that Python developers encounter is the ‘UnboundLocalError’. This error occurs when a local variable is referenced before it is assigned a value. In this article, we will discuss in detail what ‘UnboundLocalError’ is, why it occurs, and how to fix it.

When a variable is defined inside a function, it is considered a local variable. If the function tries to access this variable before it is assigned a value, it results in an ‘UnboundLocalError’. This error can be frustrating for developers, especially when they are working on a large project. However, it is not difficult to fix this error. One of the ways to fix it is by using the ‘global’ keyword to declare the variable as a global variable.

In conclusion, understanding ‘UnboundLocalError’ in Python is crucial for developers who want to avoid errors in their code. By following best practices and using the right techniques, developers can easily fix this error and ensure that their code runs smoothly. In the next section, we will explore in detail how to fix ‘UnboundLocalError’ using code examples.

Understanding UnboundLocalError

UnboundLocalError is a common error in Python that occurs when a local variable is referenced before it has been assigned a value. This error can be confusing for beginners because it is not always clear why it occurs or how to fix it. In this section, we will explore what UnboundLocalError is, why it occurs, and how to identify it.

What is UnboundLocalError?

UnboundLocalError is an exception that occurs when a local variable is referenced before it has been assigned a value. In Python, variables can have either a local or global scope. Local variables are defined within a function and are only accessible within that function. Global variables, on the other hand, are defined outside of a function and can be accessed by any function within the module.

Why Does UnboundLocalError Occur?

UnboundLocalError occurs when a local variable is referenced before it has been assigned a value. This can happen if the variable is defined within a function but is not assigned a value before it is referenced. It can also happen if the variable is defined as a global variable but is not explicitly declared as such using the global statement.

How to Identify UnboundLocalError

UnboundLocalError can be identified by the traceback message that is generated when the error occurs. The traceback message will indicate the line number where the error occurred and provide information about the variable that caused the error.

To fix UnboundLocalError, you need to ensure that all local variables are assigned a value before they are referenced. You can also use the global statement to explicitly declare a variable as a global variable, allowing it to be accessed by any function within the module.

In conclusion, UnboundLocalError is a common error in Python that occurs when a local variable is referenced before it has been assigned a value. To fix this error, you need to ensure that all local variables are assigned a value before they are referenced and use the global statement to declare global variables. By understanding UnboundLocalError and how to fix it, you can write more robust and error-free Python code.

Fixing UnboundLocalError

If you are a Python developer, you may have encountered the UnboundLocalError error while working with local variables or functions. This error occurs when a local variable is referenced before it is assigned a value within a function. In this section, we will discuss how to fix UnboundLocalError in Python.

Solutions for UnboundLocalError

There are several ways to fix UnboundLocalError in Python. One solution is to explicitly declare the variable as global using the global keyword. This will make the variable a global variable instead of a local variable. Here is an example:

In this example, we declared num as a global variable inside the test() function using the global keyword. This allowed us to access and modify the value of num inside the function without raising an UnboundLocalError .

Another solution is to use the int() function to initialize the variable with a value of 0. This will ensure that the variable has a value before it is referenced. Here is an example:

In this example, we used the int() function to initialize num with a value of 0. This prevented the UnboundLocalError from being raised when we referenced num before assigning it a value.

How to Avoid UnboundLocalError

To avoid UnboundLocalError , it is important to understand the concept of local scope and local names in Python. Local scope refers to the area of a program where a variable is defined and can be accessed. Local names refer to the variables defined within a function.

To prevent UnboundLocalError , you should always make sure to assign a value to a local variable before referencing it within a function. You should also avoid using the same name for both global and local variables, as this can cause confusion and lead to errors.

Another way to avoid UnboundLocalError is to use lexical scoping. This means defining a function within another function, which allows the inner function to access the variables of the outer function. This can help prevent UnboundLocalError by ensuring that all variables are defined and assigned a value before they are referenced.

In conclusion, UnboundLocalError is a common error in Python that can be fixed by explicitly declaring variables as global or initializing them with a value using the int() function. To avoid UnboundLocalError , it is important to understand the concept of local scope and local names, and to assign values to local variables before referencing them within a function.

In conclusion, understanding the ‘UnboundLocalError’ in Python is essential for any programmer. This error occurs when a local variable is referenced before it has been assigned a value within a function. It can be frustrating to deal with, but fortunately, there are several ways to fix it.

One common solution is to use the global keyword to declare the variable as global within the function. This allows the function to access the variable outside of its scope. Another solution is to use default arguments in the function definition to initialize the variable with a default value.

It is important to note that this error is a runtime error and can only be detected when the code is executed. Therefore, it is crucial to test your code thoroughly to catch any ‘UnboundLocalError’ before deploying it.

Python is a versatile programming language that is widely used in various fields. Understanding the ‘UnboundLocalError’ and how to fix it is a crucial aspect of programming in Python. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can avoid this error and write efficient and effective code.

In summary, this guide has covered the basics of the ‘UnboundLocalError’ in Python, including its causes and solutions. We have seen how to use the global keyword and default arguments to fix this error. Hopefully, this article has been helpful in your programming journey, and you can now write better code in Python.

Local variable referenced before assignment in Python

The “local variable referenced before assignment” error occurs in Python when you try to use a local variable before it has been assigned a value.

This error typically arises in situations where you declare a variable within a function but then try to access or modify it before actually assigning a value to it.

Here’s an example to illustrate this error:

In this example, you would encounter the “local variable ‘x’ referenced before assignment” error because you’re trying to print the value of x before it has been assigned a value. To fix this, you should assign a value to x before attempting to access it:

In the corrected version, the local variable x is assigned a value before it’s used, preventing the error.

Keep in mind that Python treats variables inside functions as local unless explicitly stated otherwise using the global keyword (for global variables) or the nonlocal keyword (for variables in nested functions).

If you encounter this error and you’re sure that the variable should have been assigned a value before its use, double-check your code for any logical errors or typos that might be causing the variable to not be assigned properly.

Using the global keyword

If you have a global variable named letter and you try to modify it inside a function without declaring it as global, you will get error.

This is because Python assumes that any variable that is assigned a value inside a function is a local variable, unless you explicitly tell it otherwise.

To fix this error, you can use the global keyword to indicate that you want to use the global variable:

Using nonlocal keyword

The nonlocal keyword is used to work with variables inside nested functions, where the variable should not belong to the inner function. It allows you to modify the value of a non-local variable in the outer scope.

For example, if you have a function outer that defines a variable x , and another function inner inside outer that tries to change the value of x , you need to use the nonlocal keyword to tell Python that you are referring to the x defined in outer , not a new local variable in inner .

Here is an example of how to use the nonlocal keyword:

If you don’t use the nonlocal keyword, Python will create a new local variable x in inner , and the value of x in outer will not be changed:

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How to Fix – UnboundLocalError: Local variable Referenced Before Assignment in Python

Developers often encounter the  UnboundLocalError Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment error in Python. In this article, we will see what is local variable referenced before assignment error in Python and how to fix it by using different approaches.

What is UnboundLocalError: Local variable Referenced Before Assignment?

This error 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.

Below, are the reasons by which UnboundLocalError: Local variable Referenced Before Assignment error occurs in  Python :

Nested Function Variable Access

Global variable modification.

In this code, the outer_function defines a variable ‘x’ and a nested inner_function attempts to access it, but encounters an UnboundLocalError due to a local ‘x’ being defined later in the inner_function.

In this code, the function example_function tries to increment the global variable ‘x’, but encounters an UnboundLocalError since it’s treated as a local variable due to the assignment operation within the function.

Solution for Local variable Referenced Before Assignment in Python

Below, are the approaches to solve “Local variable Referenced Before Assignment”.

In this code, example_function successfully modifies the global variable ‘x’ by declaring it as global within the function, incrementing its value by 1, and then printing the updated value.

In this code, the outer_function defines a local variable ‘x’, and the inner_function accesses and modifies it as a nonlocal variable, allowing changes to the outer function’s scope from within the inner function.

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How to Solve Error - Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment in Python

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Check the Variable Scope to Fix the local variable referenced before assignment Error in Python

Initialize the variable before use to fix the local variable referenced before assignment error in python, use conditional assignment to fix the local variable referenced before assignment error in python.

How to Solve Error - Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment in Python

This article delves into various strategies to resolve the common local variable referenced before assignment error. By exploring methods such as checking variable scope, initializing variables before use, conditional assignments, and more, we aim to equip both novice and seasoned programmers with practical solutions.

Each method is dissected with examples, demonstrating how subtle changes in code can prevent this frequent error, enhancing the robustness and readability of your Python projects.

The local variable referenced before assignment occurs when some variable is referenced before assignment within a function’s body. The error usually occurs when the code is trying to access the global variable.

The primary purpose of managing variable scope is to ensure that variables are accessible where they are needed while maintaining code modularity and preventing unexpected modifications to global variables.

We can declare the variable as global using the global keyword in Python. Once the variable is declared global, the program can access the variable within a function, and no error will occur.

The below example code demonstrates the code scenario where the program will end up with the local variable referenced before assignment error.

In this example, my_var is a global variable. Inside update_var , we attempt to modify it without declaring its scope, leading to the Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment error.

We need to declare the my_var variable as global using the global keyword to resolve this error. The below example code demonstrates how the error can be resolved using the global keyword in the above code scenario.

In the corrected code, we use the global keyword to inform Python that my_var references the global variable.

When we first print my_var , it displays the original value from the global scope.

After assigning a new value to my_var , it updates the global variable, not a local one. This way, we effectively tell Python the scope of our variable, thus avoiding any conflicts between local and global variables with the same name.

python local variable referenced before assignment - output 1

Ensure that the variable is initialized with some value before using it. This can be done by assigning a default value to the variable at the beginning of the function or code block.

The main purpose of initializing variables before use is to ensure that they have a defined state before any operations are performed on them. This practice is not only crucial for avoiding the aforementioned error but also promotes writing clear and predictable code, which is essential in both simple scripts and complex applications.

In this example, the variable total is used in the function calculate_total without prior initialization, leading to the Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment error. The below example code demonstrates how the error can be resolved in the above code scenario.

In our corrected code, we initialize the variable total with 0 before using it in the loop. This ensures that when we start adding item values to total , it already has a defined state (in this case, 0).

This initialization is crucial because it provides a starting point for accumulation within the loop. Without this step, Python does not know the initial state of total , leading to the error.

python local variable referenced before assignment - output 2

Conditional assignment allows variables to be assigned values based on certain conditions or logical expressions. This method is particularly useful when a variable’s value depends on certain prerequisites or states, ensuring that a variable is always initialized before it’s used, thereby avoiding the common error.

In this example, message is only assigned within the if and elif blocks. If neither condition is met (as with guest ), the variable message remains uninitialized, leading to the Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment error when trying to print it.

The below example code demonstrates how the error can be resolved in the above code scenario.

In the revised code, we’ve included an else statement as part of our conditional logic. This guarantees that no matter what value user_type holds, the variable message will be assigned some value before it is used in the print function.

This conditional assignment ensures that the message is always initialized, thereby eliminating the possibility of encountering the Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment error.

python local variable referenced before assignment - output 3

Throughout this article, we have explored multiple approaches to address the Local Variable Referenced Before Assignment error in Python. From the nuances of variable scope to the effectiveness of initializations and conditional assignments, these strategies are instrumental in developing error-free code.

The key takeaway is the importance of understanding variable scope and initialization in Python. By applying these methods appropriately, programmers can not only resolve this specific error but also enhance the overall quality and maintainability of their code, making their programming journey smoother and more rewarding.

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UnboundLocalError: local variable referenced before assignment

The unboundlocalerror: local variable referenced before assignment is raised when you try to use a variable before it has been assigned in the local context. Python doesn't have variable declarations , so it has to figure out the scope of variables itself. It does so by a simple rule: If there is an assignment to a variable inside a function, that variable is considered local .

Python error local variable referenced before assignment

If you set the value of a variable inside the function , python understands it as creating a local variable with that name. This local variable masks the global variable .

Here, the line

implicitly makes "counter" local to increment(). Trying to execute this line, though, will try to read the value of the local variable "counter" before it is assigned, resulting in an UnboundLocalError . To solve this problem, you can explicitly say it's a global by putting global declaration in you function.

Python unboundlocalerror

The global statement does not have to be at the beginning of the function definition, but that is where it is usually placed. Wherever it is placed, the global declaration makes a variable to global variable everywhere in the function. If increment() is a local function and counter a local variable, you can use "nonlocal" in Python 3.x. This keyword is useful when we need to assign any value to nested scope variable.

Python has lexical scoping by default, which means that although an enclosed scope can access values in its enclosing scope, it cannot modify them (unless they're declared global with the global keyword). All variable assignments in a function store the value in the local symbol table; whereas variable references first look in the local symbol table, then in the global symbol table, and then in the table of built-in names. Thus, global variables cannot be directly assigned a value within a function (unless named in a global statement), although they may be referenced.

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Local variable 'j' referenced before assignment after "j in range(n)"

I have a question, unrelated to the whole program. The following program can work, but if I replace s_out += str(n-i) + s[n-1] with s_out += str(j+1-i) + s[j] , it won’t work. Why not? After a loop, j and (n-1) should be equivalent. I got an error “local variable ‘j’ referenced before assignment”.

I thought it was because j was not predefined before range(n), but the following program does work:

PS: I hate the usage of the class here, which does nothing. It is how Lxxxcode uses it, and I just copy it.

The loop variable will only exist if there is any looping:

If the string is empty “” and n=0, the for loop doesn’t run and j never gets a value assigned at all.

Outside of a function, you get a NameError.

Inside a function, you get UnboundLocalError, which is a subclass of NameError.

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PythonでUnboundLocalErrorに遭遇したら

データアナリティクス事業本部 機械学習チームの中村( nokomoro3 )です。

本記事ではPythonの変数スコープと、 UnboundLocalError について整理したいと思います。

Pythonでは、関数外の変数であっても、関数内で以下のように参照することができます。

上記のようにインデントの最も浅い部分に定義された変数は、グローバル変数となります。

以下のコードでそれをチェックしてみましょう。

var1はグローバル変数であり、オブジェクトIDも同じものとなっていることが分かります。

グローバル変数を書き換えようとすると

ただし、例えば以下のように参照しつつ再代入しようとするとエラーとなります。

これは関数内で var1 がローカル変数と見なされるようになるためです。

こういった UnboundLocalError に遭遇する機会は意外と経験があることかと思います。

ローカル変数を定義しなおすと

こちらは関数内で変数を定義しなおすとエラーがなくなります。

しかしこれは元のグローバル変数を変更するわけではありません。

グローバル変数は書き変わっておらず、オブジェクトIDも関数内と関数外で異なることが分かります。

つまり、グローバル変数と同じ変数名のものを、ローカル変数として関数内で定義すると、ローカル変数と見なされていることが分かります。

ここまでの話を整理すると

先ほどのエラーとなるコードでは var1 = var1 + "_結合したい文字列" という一行により、ローカル変数としての定義と参照を同時に行っています。

また定義前に参照が実行されるため、 UnboundLocalError が発生しているということとなります。

つまり、グローバル変数と同じ名前の変数を関数内でローカル変数として使用すると、ローカル変数と見なされ、ローカル変数と見なされたものを、定義前に参照しようとすることでエラーとなっています。

よって以下のようなコードも、もちろんエラーとなります。

グローバル変数を書き換えるには

先ほどのコードではグローバル変数は書き換えができなかったですが、グローバル変数を書き換えたい場合は(良いかどうかは置いておいて)、以下のように global 変数名 と書くことで実現できます。

ちなみに、最初とオブジェクトIDが変わるのは再代入により新しい変数となっているだけで、str型がimmutableなためであるため、今回の変数スコープの話とは無関係となります。

またmutableなデータ型の場合、 global 変数名 などと記述しなくとも参照さえできれば書き換えが可能となります。

(mutable、immutableについては機会があれば別途記事にしようと思います)

関数内の関数の場合もエラーとなりうる

これらの挙動はグローバル変数だけではなく、関数内の関数で、その親関数の変数を参照する際にも発生します。

wrapper内で定義された変数が、その中の関数でも変数として定義されているため、未定義前に参照しに行くこととなり、先ほどと同様に UnboundLocalError となることがわかります。

親関数の変数を書き換えたい場合はnonlocal

このような場合に、親関数の変数を書き換えたい時は、 global 変数 の代わりに nonlocal 変数 を記載する必要があります。

関数内の関数内の関数でnonlocalを使うと?

では関数内の関数内の関数でnonlocalを使うとどうなるか?気になるところですが、これはひとつ外側の変数を取ってくるという挙動のようです。

いかがでしたでしょうか。本ブログがPythonの変数スコープや UnboundLocalError に遭遇した方の参考になれば幸いです。

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    Method 2: Using Global Variables. If you intend to use a global variable and modify its value within a function, you must declare it as global before you use it. Method 3: Using Nonlocal Variables. If the variable is defined in an outer function and you want to modify it within a nested function, use the nonlocal keyword. Examples

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    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.

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    value = value + 1 print (value) increment() If you run this code, you'll get. BASH. UnboundLocalError: local variable 'value' referenced before assignment. The issue is that in this line: PYTHON. value = value + 1. 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 ...

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    本記事ではPythonの変数スコープと、UnboundLocalErrorについて整理したいと思います。 はじめに. Pythonでは、関数外の変数であっても、関数内で以下のように参照することができます。 var1 = "関数外の変数" def print_var1(): print(f"{var1=}") return print_var1()

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