Python: How to print literal curly brace { or } in f-string and format string

How to print literal curly brace “{” or “}” in f-string and format string. how to escape brace properly in python.

Formatted string literals or f-string introduced in Python 3.6.

A formatted string literal or f-string is a string literal that is prefixed with ‘f’ or ‘F’. These strings may contain replacement fields, which are expressions delimited by curly braces {}. While other string literals always have a constant value, formatted strings are really expressions evaluated at run time.

If you want to print literal curly brace without any escape, you will get following:

>>> print(f"{")
  File "<stdin>", line 1
SyntaxError: f-string: expecting '}'

>>> print(f"}")
  File "<stdin>", line 1
SyntaxError: f-string: single '}' is not allowed

\ can not be used escape, you will get SyntaxError error:

>>> print(f"\{")
  File "<stdin>", line 1
SyntaxError: f-string: expecting '}'
>>> print(f"\}")
  File "<stdin>", line 1
SyntaxError: f-string: single '}' is not allowed

According f-string definition:

Escape sequences are decoded like in ordinary string literals (except when a literal is also marked as a raw string). After decoding, the grammar for the contents of the string is:

f_string          ::=  (literal_char | "{{" | "}}" | replacement_field)*
replacement_field ::=  "{" f_expression ["="] ["!" conversion] [":" format_spec] "}"
f_expression      ::=  (conditional_expression | "*" or_expr)
                         ("," conditional_expression | "," "*" or_expr)* [","]
                       | yield_expression
conversion        ::=  "s" | "r" | "a"
format_spec       ::=  (literal_char | NULL | replacement_field)*
literal_char      ::=  <any code point except "{", "}" or NULL>

The parts of the string outside curly braces are treated literally, except that any doubled curly braces '{{' or '}}' are replaced with the corresponding single curly brace. A single opening curly bracket '{' marks a replacement field, which starts with a Python expression.

The following code works:

>>> print(f"{{")
>>> print(f"}}")
>>> print(f"{{}}")
>>> print(f"{{foo}}")

This trick also apply to format string:

Format strings contain “replacement fields” surrounded by curly braces {}. Anything that is not contained in braces is considered literal text, which is copied unchanged to the output. If you need to include a brace character in the literal text, it can be escaped by doubling: {{ and }}.

This following example is example how to print literal curly brace '{' in format string:

>>> print("{ {}".format("Foo"))
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
ValueError: unexpected '{' in field name

>>> print("{{ {}".format("Foo"))
{ Foo

>>> print("}} {}".format("Foo"))
} Foo

>>> print("{{{{}}}} {}".format("Foo"))
{{}} Foo

>>> print("{{{}}} {}".format("Foo"))
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
IndexError: Replacement index 1 out of range for positional args tuple


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