Learn How to Solve the JS Hint Error: Expected an Assignment or Function Call and Instead Saw an Expression - Comprehensive Guide

JavaScript is a versatile and powerful language, but it can also be a bit tricky, especially for new developers. One common issue encountered is the JS Hint error: "Expected an assignment or function call and instead saw an expression." In this guide, we will explore the root causes of this error and provide step-by-step instructions on how to resolve it.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the Error
  2. Fixing the Error
  3. Use an IIFE
  4. Refactor the Code
  5. Disable the Warning
  6. FAQ

Understanding the Error

The error "Expected an assignment or function call and instead saw an expression" occurs when you have an expression that does not produce a side effect, and its result is not used or assigned to a variable.

Here's an example of code that would trigger this error:

function example() {
    'use strict';
    1 + 1;

In this case, the expression 1 + 1 has no side effects and is not assigned to any variable. As a result, JS Hint raises a warning because the expression is effectively useless.

Fixing the Error

There are several ways to resolve this error, depending on the specific use case and the intended behavior of the code.

Use an IIFE

An Immediately Invoked Function Expression (IIFE) is a function that is defined and executed immediately. This can be helpful in cases where you want to execute a function without explicitly calling it.

To use an IIFE, wrap the function expression in parentheses and add an additional pair of parentheses at the end:

(function() {
    'use strict';
    console.log(1 + 1);

This will execute the function immediately, and the error will be resolved.

Refactor the Code

In some cases, refactoring the code to remove the unused expression or incorporate it into a more meaningful context can resolve the error.

For example, you could refactor the previous example by assigning the result of the expression to a variable:

function example() {
    'use strict';
    var result = 1 + 1;

This will ensure that the expression has a purpose and will not trigger the JS Hint error.

Disable the Warning

If you believe that the expression is necessary, and you do not want to see the warning, you can disable the "Expected an assignment or function call and instead saw an expression" warning in JS Hint by adding the following comment to your JavaScript file:

/*jshint expr: true */

This will inform JS Hint to allow expressions that do not produce side effects or are not assigned to variables.


Q: What is JS Hint?

JS Hint is a popular static code analysis tool for JavaScript. It can help developers identify potential issues, errors, and code style inconsistencies in their JavaScript code. Learn more about JS Hint.

Q: Can I use ESLint instead of JS Hint?

Yes, ESLint is another popular static code analysis tool for JavaScript. In some cases, developers might prefer ESLint over JS Hint due to its extensibility and support for custom rules. Learn more about ESLint.

Q: What are the common causes of this error?

This error is often caused by expressions that do not produce side effects (such as modifying a variable) and are not assigned to a variable or used in a function call. Examples include simple arithmetic operations, comparisons, and logical operations.

Q: How can I check if my code has this error?

You can use JS Hint to analyze your JavaScript code and identify any instances of this error. To do this, simply provide your JavaScript code to the JS Hint online tool or integrate JS Hint into your development workflow.

Q: Can I ignore this error?

While it is possible to ignore this error by disabling the corresponding warning in JS Hint, it is generally not recommended. The error often indicates that there is an expression in your code that serves no purpose and could be removed or refactored, resulting in cleaner and more efficient code.

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