I keep getting this error when compiling my pdf. I'm using the german language in babel I have no idea which of my references could be causing it.


  • 1
    Check if you have quotes (") in the bib. – Ulrike Fischer Mar 25 at 19:49
  • I had initially (mostly letters with umlauts that were changed to "a and "u and stuff like that). Took them out but still getting the same error. – Shane S Mar 25 at 19:52
  • 1
    delete the bbl and compile again. If the error persist you will have to show a complete example (including problematic bib-entries) and not only snippets. – Ulrike Fischer Mar 25 at 20:09
  • Have a look at tex.meta.stackexchange.com/q/228/35864 and tex.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4407/35864 for help on producing a small example document. With the code shown so far it is almost impossible to say what could be wrong, a similar error is mentioned in tex.stackexchange.com/q/405718/35864. While you are searching for the culprit keep in mind that errors in the bibliography files may persist in the temporary files (mainly the .bbl in this case), so you should try and delete all temporary files (.aux, .bbl, .bcf, ...) between reruns. – moewe Mar 25 at 20:28
  • Figured it out. YOur comment about the .bbl file made me take a look into that one and it turns out there was some (") sign there my editor wasn't finding in the bib file. Runs fine now. Thanks. – Shane S Mar 25 at 20:29

I finally figured it out. For people of the future dealing with this issue (german babel), much like Ulrike Fischer's comment, you need to delete the quotation marks. First in the .bib file and then in the .bbl file after compilation. Turns out the .bbl file contained some " that didn't how up in the .bib file (don't ask me how). Also, check for the ´ and ` hanging around instead of '.

  • It would help greatly if you could document which uses of " in the .bbl are problematic. In general the babel shorthands for umlaute etc. should be fine (I just checked with Gem"use, though the direct Unicode character would be preferable: Gemüse). But I can imagine that using " as (sole) quotation marks could be problematic. – moewe Mar 25 at 20:31
  • Yeah, I took out the shorthands for the umlauts just to be sure. It worked before with them. I'd generally advise to play it safe with the ae and üe in the bibliography. Can stick to them in the text. The cases I took out I figure might have helped were the (`) hiding in plain sight. Replaced it with the correct ('). I imagine it would be similar for the (´). Most importantly though, the un-shorthanded (") that appeared in the bbl file but that notepad++ didn't find in the .bib file. It (") appeared as the first character in the \field{title}{. Not aware of any others, unfortunately. – Shane S Mar 25 at 20:41
  • Well, if the input encoding in the .bib file is as expected by Biber (nowadays usually UTF-8) there is absolutely no reason not to use Unicode characters. Even the common macro forms \"a are normalised to their Unicode counterparts internally. The babel shorthand versions ("a) are not normalised and may therefore not sort correctly. In particular it would surprise me if after Biber processed the entries there would be more "s in the .bbl than before in the .bib. If that is the case that might well be a bug and then it would be extremely useful to see something that reproduces it – moewe Mar 25 at 20:50

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