I know that by using the "-A NUM" switch I can print specific number of trailing lines after each match. I am just wondering if it's possible to print trailing lines until a specific word is found after each match. e.g. When I search for "Word A" I want to see the line containing "Word A" and also the lines after it until the one containing "Word D".


Word A
Word B
Word C
Word D
Word E
Word F


grep -A10 'Word A'

I need this output:

Word A
Word B
Word C
Word D

It seems that you want to print lines between 'Word A' and 'Word D' (inclusive). I suggest you to use sed instead of grep. It lets you to edit a range of input stream which starts and ends with patterns you want. You should just tell sed to print all lines in range and no other lines:

sed -n -e '/Word A/,/Word D/ p' file
  • Any tips on how to make it exclusive (for any generic situation, not just OP's)? – 2rs2ts Jun 18 '13 at 17:18
  • 6
    @2rs2ts to make it exclusive, just add | sed -e '1d;$d', that is remove first and last line – holroy Jun 26 '15 at 9:54
  • And if you want to exclude all lines between -- that is, you want to just see lines that are outside the two matches -- then: sed -n -e '/pattern A/,/pattern D/d; p' This says, "delete from pattern A to pattern D and print everything else". Unfortunately, this match is greedy. That means if patterns A and D appear more than once, you're going to match from the first pattern A to the last pattern D. I'm afraid Perl or Python are your friends if that's the case. – fbicknel Dec 19 '18 at 19:07

why not use awk ?

awk '/Word A/,/Word D/' filename
  • 2
    sed appears to be able to do this much more efficiently if a large number of files are involved. awk may be easier to remember, but sed seems to be worth a sticky note in my brain. – JimNim Nov 24 '14 at 16:02
  • 1
    awk is superior if Word D falls on the same line as Word A, and possibly elsewhere, eg Word A Word D\nWord D with sed will show two lines where as awk will show one. Additionally one can still use variables with awk, eg awk -v _word="Word A" '$0 ~ _word,/Word D/' "/some/file", so sed maybe more efficient but when dealing with searches of two strings that may or may-not fall on the same line, awk definitely be more reliable. – S0AndS0 Oct 26 '18 at 20:50
  • it seems that awk better handles the case that the file contains sequences of A and B and you only want to capture what's between each such sequence. it looks like sed doesn't follow these semantics in my case at least. – Matan Oct 28 '19 at 18:51
perl -lne 'print if /Word A/ .. /Word D/' file


cat file | perl -lne 'print if /Word A/ .. /Word D/'
  • 1
    +1 to counter the drive-by downvote. I'd still use sed for this, unless you need the power of Perl regular expressions to select the delimiting lines. – tripleee Jul 2 '13 at 9:32
  • People who wrote sed in the 70s must be thankful :-) – Matan Oct 28 '19 at 18:41

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.