3 simple ways to create an error


String-based errors

The standard library offers two out-of-the-box options.

// simple string-based error
err1 := errors.New("math: square root of negative number")

// with formatting
err2 := fmt.Errorf("math: square root of negative number %g", x)

Custom errors with data

To define a custom error type, you must satisfy the predeclared error interface.

type error interface {
    Error() string

Here are two examples.

type SyntaxError struct {
    Line int
    Col  int

func (e *SyntaxError) Error() string {
    return fmt.Sprintf("%d:%d: syntax error", e.Line, e.Col)
type InternalError struct {
    Path string

func (e *InternalError) Error() string {
    return fmt.Sprintf("parse %v: internal error", e.Path)

If Foo is a function that can return a SyntaxError or an InternalError, you may handle the two cases like this.

if err := Foo(); err != nil {
    switch e := err.(type) {
    case *SyntaxError:
        // Do something interesting with e.Line and e.Col.
    case *InternalError:
        // Abort and file an issue.

More code examples

Go blueprints: code for com­mon tasks is a collection of handy code examples.

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