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fgrep --help | fgrep "--help"

returns just the whole fgrep --help, how do I return just the lines that have the literal "--help" in them?

The quotes don't do anything, nor does \-\-help.

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I meant \-\-help – lonewarrior556 Aug 5 '14 at 18:49
fgrep -- --help – Ulrich Dangel Aug 5 '14 at 18:51
Yes! does fgrep -- take every argument literally? – lonewarrior556 Aug 5 '14 at 18:55
@lonewarrior556 Escaping the hyphen with a backslash is useless because you want the protection for the command (fgrep), not for the shell. – vinc17 Aug 5 '14 at 18:58
up vote 9 down vote accepted

I believe you can use

fgrep -- --help

to achieve this. The man page mentions

fgrep -e --help

Quote from http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/man.cgi?query=grep:

-e pattern Specify a pattern used during the search of the input: an input line is selected if it matches any of the specified patterns. This option is most useful when multiple -e options are used to specify multiple patterns, or when a pattern begins with a dash (‘-’).

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Alternate solution: use the -e option, as suggested by the man page ("to protect a pattern beginning with a hyphen"):

fgrep -e --help
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