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Old 10-13-2010, 08:33 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2010
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Question grep not recognizing all the meta-characters when used with -e option.

Hi All,

I was trying to use the grep command with -e option to test some regular expressions with it but to surprise not all the meta characters were being recognized by the grep engine, how ever egrep works perfectly fine.

For example : The following egrp command works fine

egrep -i [0-9]+[a-z][0-9]? Testfile

but grep -e [0-9]+[a-z][0-9]? Testfile does not work fine it works without meta characters like '+' '?' '*'.

So could anyone explain this behavior of grep command
Old 10-13-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
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yes, from the man page

       -E, --extended-regexp
              Interpret PATTERN as an extended regular  expression  (ERE,  see  below).   (-E  is
              specified by POSIX.)
       -e PATTERN, --regexp=PATTERN
              Use PATTERN as the pattern.  This can be used to specify multiple search  patterns,
              or to protect a pattern beginning with a hyphen (-).  (-e is specified by POSIX.)
you want grep -E.
Old 10-14-2010, 12:14 AM   #3
Registered: Oct 2010
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Thumbs up

First of all thanks for the reply.

I know it works with E option since t teats the pattern as a ERE but i am not clear with the -e option. Could you please explain how it works if possible plz quote an example.
Old 10-14-2010, 02:52 AM   #4
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Basically it just means you can use multiple patterns to match:
$cat f2.txt


$grep data f2.txt

$grep -e data -e other f2.txt
Fairly basic example but demonstrates -e


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