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Reza Lavarian
Reza Lavarian

Posted on • Originally published at

How to fix "SyntaxError: ‘continue’ not properly in loop" in Python

Update: This post was originally published on my blog, where you can read the latest version for a 💯 user experience. ~reza

Python raises “SyntaxError: ‘continue’ not properly in loop” whenever it encounters a continue statement outside a loop – usually within an if block that’s not part of a loop.

Here’s what the error looks like:

File /dwd/sandbox/, line 8
SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop
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A continue statement is a control flow feature used within a loop to skip the rest of the current iteration and continue to the beginning of the next one.

The difference between continue and break is that a break statement terminates the loop while continue skips one iteration.

You usually use continue when you reach a specific value and you want to skip the rest of the iteration and proceed to the next iteration. That's pretty much like the C language.

Based on Python syntax, the continue keyword is only valid inside loops - for and while.

In the following example, we iterate over a list of scores and print those above ⭐ 4.5 (inclusive):

scores = [3.5, 3.8, 4.6, 4.5, 4.9, 3.9, 5, 1.2, 3, 4, 4.6]
top_scores = []

for score in scores:
    if (score <= 4.5):


# Output: [4.6, 4.9, 5, 4.6]
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In the above code, if the score value in the current iteration is less than 4.5, we continue to the next iteration.

How to fix SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop

One of the most common causes of "SyntaxError: 'continue' not properly in loop" is using the continue keyword in an if block that's not part of a loop:

user = {'id': 2, 'is_active': True}

if user:
    if is_active != True:
        continue # 🚫 SyntaxError
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There's no point in using a continue statement within an if block. If the condition isn't met, the code isn't executed anyway. The above code would only make sense if it's inside a loop:

users = [
    {'id': 1, 'is_active': True},
    {'id': 2, 'is_active': False},
    {'id': 3, 'is_active': True},

for user in users:
    if user['is_active'] == False:

    print(f'Sending an email to user {user[id]}')
    # Some code here ...

# Output: 
# Sending an email to 1
# Sending an email to 3
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If you want to keep the if block for syntactical reasons, you can replace the continue keyword with the pass keyword.

A pass statement does nothing in Python. However, you can always use it when a statement is required syntactically, but no action is needed.

Alright, I think it does it. I hope this quick guide helped you solve your problem.

Thanks for reading.

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