Nick Coghlan added the comment:

Yes, if you pass "string" when you meant to pass ["string"], you will often get 
awful error messages.

This is one of the downsides of strings being iterable, but we're not going to 
add "if isinstance(obj, str): throw TypeError(msg)" special cases everywhere to 
address it.

It's definitely a wart in Python, but it's one Python developers just have to 
get used to (and learn to suspect whenever they see a single-character string 
in an error message).

nosy: +ncoghlan
resolution:  -> wont fix
status: open -> closed

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