I'm using bash version 4.1.2(1)-release (x86_64-redhat-linux-gnu) on cygwin with git 1.7.1. I wanted to make an alias for a command that needed to use the input argument twice. Following these instructions, I wrote

branch-excise = !sh -c 'git branch -D $1; git push origin --delete $1' --

and I get this error:

$> git branch-excise my-branch
sh: -c: line 0: unexpected EOF while looking for matching `''
sh: -c: line 1: syntax error: unexpected end of file

I've tried both a - and a -- at the end, but I get the same errors. How can I fix this?

  • What is sh on your system? Why are using sh and not bash here? Oct 29, 2015 at 14:04
  • 1
    @ArkadiuszDrabczyk I was following directions from the git manual page that I linked to. Also this stackexchange comment stackoverflow.com/questions/3321492/… claims that sh is more universal across *nixes.
    – user394
    Oct 29, 2015 at 14:19
  • @ArkadiuszDrabczyk why in the world would you use bash and not sh there? There's no bashism there, why use a slower, heavier and less portable shell when there's no reason to?
    – terdon
    Oct 29, 2015 at 14:21
  • @terdon: I wouldn't but OP says that he uses and tried bash and shows example where sh is used Oct 29, 2015 at 14:23
  • @ArkadiuszDrabczyk ah, fair enough. Many people mistakenly assume that bash == sh, I'm guessing that's what happened here.
    – terdon
    Oct 29, 2015 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


man git-config says:

The syntax is fairly flexible and permissive; whitespaces are mostly ignored. The # and ; characters begin comments to the end of line, blank lines are ignored.


branch-excise = !bash -c 'git branch -D $1; git push origin --delete $1'

is an equivalent to:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

bash -c 'git branch -D $1

Running the above script prints:

/tmp/quote.sh: line 3: unexpected EOF while looking for matching `''
/tmp/quote.sh: line 4: syntax error: unexpected end of file

One solution is to put a whole command in ":

branch-excise = !"bash -c 'git branch -D $1; git push origin --delete $1'"

However, it still doesn't work because $1 is empty:

$ git branch-excise master
fatal: branch name required
fatal: --delete doesn't make sense without any refs

In order to make it work you need to create a dummy function in .gitconfig and call it like this:

branch-excise = ! "ddd () { git branch -D $1; git push origin --delete $1; }; ddd"


$ git branch-excise  master
error: Cannot delete the branch 'master' which you are currently on.
  • 3
    Worth knowing: unlike a shell, if you accidentally omit the trailing semicolon inside of the ddd definition, you also get the same confusing "syntax error: unexpected end of file" error.
    – ecmanaut
    Sep 25, 2017 at 8:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .