I'm running a command like so, with the $OUTPUT variable saving the results of the command. But I also want to save the command itself to a variable for inclusion in a status email.

OUTPUT=$(php -f $LOCATION/somefile.php -- -process "$INPUTFILE" 2>&1)

The first part works. Then I tried this:

IMPORTCOMMAND='php -f' "$LOCATION"'/somefile.php -- -process'"$INPUTFILE"

But instead of saving the string to the variable, it seems to be just executing the command a second time.


Here is a mockup of how I create my email body. I have single quotes around regular strings and then double quotes around bash variables.

BODY='<b color="red">Output:</b><br />'"$OUTPUT"'<b color="red">Command:</b> '"$IMPORTCOMMAND"

After that I try to replace newlines with html "
" like so:

BODY="${BODY//$'\n'/<br />}"
#changed $BODY="" to BODY="" per yaegashi's suggestion

The following error disappeared after I followed yaegashi's suggestion:

/usr/local/bin/some-script.sh: line 59: <b: command not found

But the original error remains, at the IMPORTCOMMAND variable assignment.

  • 2
    You need to double quote "$IMPORTCOMMAND" when using it.
    – cuonglm
    Jul 23, 2015 at 2:00
  • @cuonglm thanks for the hint. I did double quote it when I assigned it to my $BODY variable. It seems like the error occurs when I try to replace newlines with <br />. Please see my edit. Jul 23, 2015 at 2:13
  • 1
    You should do like BODY="...". No heading $.
    – yaegashi
    Jul 23, 2015 at 2:20
  • @yaegashi I'm getting an error at the line IMPORTCOMMAND='php -f' "$LOCATION"'/somefile.php -- -process'"$INPUTFILE" line. The php script is being executed. I must be doing something wrong with the quotes up there. Jul 23, 2015 at 2:33
  • 1
    just a matter of spacing; I think you want something like: IMPORTCOMMAND='php -f '"$LOCATION"'/somefile.php -- -process '"$INPUTFILE"
    – Jeff Schaller
    Jul 23, 2015 at 3:01

1 Answer 1


I think you have too many quotes and in the wrong places.

The following will try run somefile.php and not set IMPORTCOMMAND as there is a space between php -f and somefile.php.

IMPORTCOMMAND='php -f' "$LOCATION"'/somefile.php -- -process'"$INPUTFILE"

Should be:

import_command="php -f $LOCATION/somefile.php -- -process $INPUTFILE"
output=$( ${import_command} 2>&1 )

OR (if 'LOCATION' or 'INPUTFILE' contain spaces)

import_command=( php -f "$LOCATION/somefile.php" -- -process "$INPUTFILE" )
output=$( "${import_command[@]}" 2>&1 )

And display it:

BODY="<b color='red'>Output:</b><br />${output}
      <b color='red'>Command:</b>     ${import_command[*]}"
  • The space after 'php -f' was indeed the problem. You and Jeff Schaller are correct. $LOCATION and $INPUTFILE are both file paths with no spaces, but it's good to know how to handle spaces for future reference. Thank you. Jul 23, 2015 at 4:23

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