function checkExit(){
    if test "$?" != "0"; then
      echo Command $1 exited with abnormal status
      exit 1;
    else echo $?

function echoThenRun () { # echo and then run the command
  echo $1
  echo $ret
  return $ret
echo > $file
echoThenRun "test -f $file"
checkExit $file
echo "all right!"

The output of executing the script:

$  ~/Downloads/test.sh 
test -f test_file
1 # why 1 here??
all right!

There's a simpler way of what you're doing. If you use set -x, the script will automatically echo each line before it's executed.

Also, as soon as you execute another command, $? is replaced with the exit code of that command.

You'll have to back it up to a variable if you're going to be doing anything with it other than a quick test-and-forget. The [ is actually a program that has its own exit code.

For example:

set -x # make sure the command echos
execute some command...
set +x # undo command echoing
if [ "$result" -ne 0 ]; then
    echo "Your command exited with non-zero status $result"
  • the if statement is what i was looking for – northern-bradley Aug 28 '18 at 12:00

Looks to me like the command test "$?" != "0" ends up setting $? to 1. The value $? gets used in the arguments to test. test sets $? to a non-zero value because "0" is lexically equal to "0". The "!=" makes test return non-zero.

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