If your answer contains one or more syntax errors that prevent WebAssign from being
able to grade it, WebAssign displays the message `Your answer cannot be understood or
graded`. Depending on your instructor, answers with syntax errors might be
counted as incorrect submissions.

Often, the problem is a simple typographical error that is easy to spot and correct. After correcting the error, submit your answer again.

- If your answer is not counted as a submission, it is also not stored by WebAssign. This means that after certain actions, like closing and reopening the assignment or submitting an answer for a different question, your answers with syntax errors are no longer displayed in the assignment.
- Copying text from anywhere and pasting it in an answer box will result in an error. You must type your response using the keyboard or the tools provided.

## Common Errors

Some of the most common errors are listed here.

Problem | Incorrect | Correct |
---|---|---|

Brackets or braces instead of parentheses. | 4*{x+3} | 4*(x+3) |

Unpaired parentheses. | (1+2)+3) | ((1+2)+3) |

Missing part of the expression. | 50* | 50*3 |

Too many consecutive operators. | x++++2 | x+2 |

Unrecognized symbol. | $4.00 4&6 |
4.00 4+6 |

## Errors Specific to Numerical Questions

The following errors are common in questions that require you to enter a number with or without a unit.

Problem | Incorrect | Correct |
---|---|---|

Misspelled unit. | 3456 met/sec | 3456 m/s |

Specifying a unit when none is required. Note If displayed, check the
answer format tip to see if units are required. |
3 m | 3 |

Numerical answers cannot contain variables. | 2*x+3 | 2*10+3 |

Numerical answers cannot use implicit multiplication. | 3(14) | 3*14 |

Numerical answers must use ** to specify exponents. | 2^3 | 2**3 |

## Errors Specific to mathPad, calcPad, and physPad Questions

The following errors are common in mathPad, calcPad, or physPad questions, as well as older symbolic questions that require calculator notation.

Problem | Incorrect | Correct |
---|---|---|

Incorrect variables. Variable names are case-sensitive
(x is not the same as X). If the question specifies Greek letters or symbols such as ℓ, do not substitute English letters. |
3X3 3 |
3x3 3ℓ |

Comma in number. | 5,000 | 5000 |

Do not use ** to specify exponents. | 2**3 | 2^{3}2^3 Note In mathPad, calcPad, or physPad, typing
2^3 displays
2^{3}. |

Do not use uppercase E in scientific notation. | 1.2E15 | 1.2e15 |