To retrieve strings of the following pattern from a text file populated with multiple entries:


The following grep statement doesn't provide any result

grep -ioe "entry=G_{1234,2345}" filename

Could you kindly guide as to where is the mistake or if parameter expansion is not possible in grep?

  • 1
    The parameter expansion will not take place between quotes. And if you manage to get it work how would grep use that expansion? Why not using regular expressions? – Nicola Sarobba Dec 21 '15 at 9:29


grep -iEo 'entry=G_(1234|2345)'

That is use the alternation operator of extended (E) regular expressions.

Or with shells that support brace expansion, use:

grep -io '-eentry=G_'{1234,2345}

The shell would then expand it to:

grep -io -eentry=G_1234 -eentry=G_2345

Causing grep to look for either of those 2 expressions.

| improve this answer | |

Grep uses regular expressions, not shell patterns. Regular expressions have different syntax:

grep -ioe 'entry=G_\(1234\|2345\)' filename
| improve this answer | |
  • Note that \| is a GNU extension as standard BRE don't have an alternation operator. (-o is a GNU extension as well anyway, so it's probably OK for the OP). – Stéphane Chazelas Dec 21 '15 at 12:22

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