Overriding the Message

You can override the default error message for a validator by calling the WithMessage method on a validator definition:

RuleFor(customer => customer.Surname).NotNull().WithMessage("Please ensure that you have entered your Surname");

Note that custom error messages can contain placeholders for special values such as {PropertyName} - which will be replaced in this example with the name of the property being validated. This means the above error message could be re-written as:

RuleFor(customer => customer.Surname).NotNull().WithMessage("Please ensure you have entered your {PropertyName}");

…and the value Surname will be inserted.


As specified in the example above, the message can contain placeholders for special values such as {PropertyName} - which will be replaced with a specified value. Each type of built-in validator has its own list of placeholders which are supported by it.

The placeholders used in all validators are:

  • {PropertyName} – Name of the property being validated
  • {PropertyValue} – Value of the property being validated These include the predicate validator (Must validator), the email and the regex validators.

Used in comparison validators: (Equal, NotEqual, GreaterThan, GreaterThanOrEqual, etc.)

  • {ComparisonValue} – Value that the property should be compared to

Used only in the Length validator:

  • {MinLength} – Minimum length
  • {MaxLength} – Maximum length
  • {TotalLength} – Number of characters entered

For a complete list of error message placeholders see the the Built in Validators page. Each built in validator has its own supported placeholders.

It is also possible to use your own custom arguments in the validation message. These can either be static values or references to other properties on the object being validated. This can be done by using the overload of WithMessage that takes a lambda expression, and then passing the values to string.Format or by using string interpolation.

//Using static values in a custom message:
RuleFor(customer => x.Surname)
  .WithMessage(customer => string.Format("This message references some constant values: {0} {1}", "hello", 5))
//Result would be "This message references some constant values: hello 5"

//Referencing other property values:
RuleFor(customer => customer.Surname)
  .WithMessage(customer => $"This message references some other properties: Forename: {customer.Forename} Discount: {customer.Discount}");
//Result would be: "This message references some other properties: Forename: Jeremy Discount: 100"

If you want to override all of FluentValidation’s default error messages, check out FluentValidation’s support for Localization.

Overriding the Property Name

The default validation error messages contain the property name being validated. For example, if you were to define a validator like this:

RuleFor(customer => customer.Surname).NotNull();

…then the default error message would be ‘Surname’ must not be empty. Although you can override the entire error message by calling WithMessage, you can also replace just the property name by calling WithName:

RuleFor(customer => customer.Surname).NotNull().WithName("Last name");

Now the error message would be ‘Last name’ must not be empty.

Note that this only replaces the name of the property in the error message. When you inspect the Errors collection on the ValidationResult, this error will still be associated with a property called Surname. If you want to completely rename the property, you can use the OverridePropertyName method instead.

There is also an overload of WithName that accepts a lambda expression in a similar way to WithName in the above example

Property name resolution is also pluggable. By default, the name of the property extracted from the MemberExpression passed to RuleFor. If you want change this logic, you can set the DisplayNameResolver property on the ValidatorOptions class:

ValidatorOptions.DisplayNameResolver = (type, member, expression) => {
  if(member != null) {
     return member.Name + "Foo";
  return null;

This is not a realistic example as it changes all properties to have the suffix Foo, but hopefully illustrates the point.