A very unhelpful error message
You unpack a fresh copy of EE into your site folder and then navigate to the site with your browser.
The following message is displayed:
"Your config file does not appear to be formatted correctly."
This confusing message will appear if you haven't yet completed the EE install. Navigate to http://yoursite.com/admin.php and actually perform the install process! Yes we know, it's basic, but we've done this more than once.