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I'm trying to pass multiple argument to a function, but one of them is consist of two words and I want shell function to deal with it as one arg:

 echo ${args[0]}
 echo ${args[1]}
 echo ${args[2]}

when I call this command sh shell hi hello guys bye

I get this




But what I really want is:

hello guys

marked as duplicate by Gilles shell-script Aug 24 '14 at 23:38

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  • You shouldn't use function as a name of a function. It's a keyword in ksh, and some bourne-shell like bash, zsh, dash. – cuonglm Aug 23 '14 at 18:31
  • @Gnouc. Not in dash. In yash yes. Though zsh also accepts ksh's function definition syntax, function() echo x; function will work in zsh. So the only shells where that is a problem are ksh, bash and yash. – Stéphane Chazelas Aug 23 '14 at 20:05
  • @StéphaneChazelas: Oh, I retry and it works in zsh, but dash doesn't. – cuonglm Aug 23 '14 at 20:13

You should just quote the second argument.

        echo "$1"
        echo "$2"
        echo "$3"

myfunc hi "hello guys" bye

It is the same as calling anything (a shell script, a C program, a python program, …) from a shell

If calling from any Unix shell, and the parameter has spaces, then you need to quote it.

sh my-shell-script hi "hello guys" bye

You can also use single quotes, these are more powerful. They stop the shell from interpreting anything ($, !, \, *, ", etc, except ')

sh my-shell-script hi 'hello guys' bye

You should also quote every variable use within the function.

Note that in your example the arguments are falling apart before they get to the function (as they are passed to the script).

   echo "$1"
   echo "$2"
   echo "$3"

There is no way to do it automatically, in the script, as there is no way for the script to know which spaces are which (which words are together).

  • And if the parameter has " in it? We need to encode it? – Nadav B Jun 17 '18 at 9:54
  • 1
    Escape it. \" – Bruno Jan 8 at 7:10

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