I don't get the meaning of the sign <<>> and also from which line the error is coming as I have a program of more than 30 lines with many defined functions without using "Module" . Is not there any way to display line numbers in Mathematica so that we can know from which line error is coming?

  • $\begingroup$ Mathematica is not so hot on lines and debuggging is not straightforward. Please add the offending code (or a minimal working example thereof) - without code there is no way to help you. $\endgroup$
    – Yves Klett
    May 14, 2014 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ We need a minimal example to give a clear analysis of the problem, but the cause is likely to be very similar to this: (11982) $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Wizard
    May 14, 2014 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't write Quit[] at the end of the program. That is why for the first time when I run the program I got the result, but after some modification when I run the program, I got that error message. Thanks for the help. $\endgroup$
    – user22180
    May 14, 2014 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


<< ..>> is called a Skeleton. It is is used to show you an abbreviated version of the actual offending line. You can find it in Short and Shallow.

Short[(x + y)^30 // Expand]

Mathematica graphics

You can see the skeleton right there in the middle.

The error message probably comes from an illegal construction like:

(a + b)[x_] := 2

SetDelayed::write: Tag Plus in (a+b)[x_] is Protected. >>


I think you used a function and then tried to manually set another value to it. for instance:

fun=3; fun[x_]:=Tan[x]; gives the following error

"SetDelayed::write: "Tag Integer in 3[x_] is Protected"

you are probably doing something very similar.

  • $\begingroup$ So how do you fix it? $\endgroup$ May 16, 2021 at 16:19

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