Whether you’re new to coding or a professional, you’ve probably received the Java illegal start of expression error. The word illegal makes the issue seem terrifying. Luckily, it’s not that bad, and you can fix it relatively easily.
The error is a common one, so it’s a wonder why it has such a serious name. But in this case, the word illegal just means that something’s wrong. And it’s up to you to figure out what.
Overview of Java Illegal Start of Expression
When you’re programming, you want everything to work properly. So when something goes wrong, and you don’t know how to fix it, it can get frustrating.
One issue you might encounter is a Java illegal start of expression. Fortunately, the error isn’t as scary as it looks. If you know why Java illegal start of expression appears, you can fix the problem and be on your way to programming the perfect code.
Is it illegal?
Nothing about the Java illegal start of expression error is illegal; that’s just part of the name. However, that name can make things confusing for you.
If you get the error, you won’t have to worry about anyone arresting you. You won’t lose the ability to write Java or work in programming. You just have to do some problem solving to fix the issue.
In this case, a better word choice would probably be an inaccurate start of expression.
What does it mean?
The Java illegal start of expression error means that there’s an inappropriate statement in your code. When writing Java, the compiler reviews your code and looks for issues.
If it finds something wrong with the start of an expression in your code, you will get the Java illegal start of expression error.
There are a few potential issues that would cause the error to appear. It could be as simple as a missing semicolon. However, it could be as big as using the wrong brackets at the wrong times in your code.
If you use private, public, or protected modifiers inside a method, you can also get an illegal start of expression warming.
So, aside from knowing what the error means, you have to figure out what caused it. That way, you can fix the problem.
How to Correct Java Illegal Start of Expression
When you see a Java illegal start of expression message, it’s up to you to correct it. Luckily, it’s easy enough to fix. However, since multiple things can trigger the error, you have to determine the cause.
And for that, you have to act just like the compiler.
Check the code
Even if you think you know where the error is, don’t be afraid to go through the whole piece of code. Of course, that can take a while, but it might be worth it.
Put your proofreading skills to the test, and look for missing brackets and semicolons. Make sure you don’t use any methods inside of other methods. And check for any modifiers you might have used incorrectly.
If you have a lot of code, you can start with your most recent bit of work. However, you may need to go back further to find the problem.
Add the missing link
Once you find the problem spot, it’s time to fix the error. This may take some trial and error. And if you can’t figure it out, ask a fellow programmer for some help or consult a book for more information.
If your code is missing a semicolon, add that. Maybe you need to adjust where you put brackets. Perhaps you used the wrong brackets somewhere.
If you put a method inside another method, you’ll need to take the second one out. Luckily, all you need to do in that case is move the brackets.
And with that, you shouldn’t get the Java illegal start of expression error. If you still get it after fixing your code, that means you probably made another error along the way.
In that case, follow the steps again to find the new error and correct it. Just make sure you don’t cause another error in the process.
Programming in Java can be great, but it can be annoying when you get a string of seemingly meaningless errors. Luckily, the Java illegal start of expression error is usually a quick fix.
Have you had the Java illegal start of expression error? How did you correct it? Comment below!