I was trying to execute new line using echo and tried following two commands:

  1. First command:

    echo $'Hello World\nThis is a new line'


    Hello World
    This is a new line
  2. Second command:

    echo $"Hello World\nThis is a new line"


    Hello World\nThis is a new line

My question is what's the difference between string wrapped with $' ' vs string wrapped with $" " in bash's echo?

  • Helpful note : Double quote is also known as weak quoting and Single quote is also known as strong quoting. – Rafaf Tahsin Aug 18 '16 at 4:29
  • 2
    Yes, but "weak quote" and 'strong quote' are different from $'C String' and $"I18N String". – DopeGhoti Aug 18 '16 at 4:30
  • You the real MVP. :D >>> @DopeGhoti – Rafaf Tahsin Aug 18 '16 at 4:32
  • I do what I can (: – DopeGhoti Aug 18 '16 at 4:33

As explained here, the syntax $'string' specifies a C-style string which includes magic escaped characters, such as \n for a newline. $"string" is for I18N expansion, which has no such magic escapes.

Note that these are distinct from the more common "string" (weak quoting) and 'string' (strong quoting).


The $ in the beginning of the string in :

echo $'Hello World\nThis is a new line'

causes escape sequences to be interpreted.

Bash reference manual [ says ]

Words of the form $'string' are treated specially. The word expands to string, with backslash-escaped characters replaced as specified by the ANSI C standard. ..
The expanded result is single-quoted, as if the dollar sign had not been present.


echo $"Hello World\nThis is a new line"

is completely different. This [ article ] on locale specific translation says :

A double-quoted string preceded by a dollar sign (‘$’) will cause the string to be translated according to the current locale. If the current locale is C or POSIX, the dollar sign is ignored. If the string is translated and replaced, the replacement is double-quoted.

Note: IIRC both $'string' and $"string" may not find support among different shells. Not only do people from other shells look at them with curiosity but also they debate on whether this could be avoided for script portability.

  • 1
    ksh93 also understands $'...'. – Kusalananda Aug 18 '16 at 4:53
  • @Kusalananda : Hmm, Good note :) – sjsam Aug 18 '16 at 8:30
  • 4
    $'xxx' is not a bashism but was first introduced by ksh several years before bash did. It is currently also supported by zsh and busybox sh and is under review by the POSIX standard. – jlliagre Aug 18 '16 at 8:35
  • @jlliagre : Appreciate the time :) . I stand corrected.. – sjsam Aug 18 '16 at 8:41

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