I want to know how many instances of a pattern are found by grep while looking recursively through a directory structure. It seems I should be able to pipe the output of grep through something which would count the lines.
I was able to put the answer together with help from this question. The program "wc" program counts newlines, words and byte counts. The "-l" option specifies that the number of lines is desired. For my application, the following worked nicely to count the number of instances of "somePattern":
$grep -r "somePattern" | wc -l