As for ./script.sh arg1 [arg2 arg3 ...], the command line arguments arg1, arg2, ... can be got by $1, $2, ... But the number of arguments is NOT fixed.

In the shell script, I want to pass the arguments starting from arg2 to a program,

/path/to/a/program [I want to pass arg2 arg3 ... to the program]

How could I do it since there could be one or more arguments?

2 Answers 2


The usual way would be to save a copy of arg1 ("$1") and shift the parameters by one, so you can refer to the whole list as "$@":

shift 1
/path/to/a/program "$@"

bash has some array support of course, but it is not needed for the question as posed.

If even arg1 is optional, you would check for it like this:

if [ $# != 0 ]
    shift 1
  • Is the double quotes necessary when using $@?
    – wsdzbm
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 23:48
  • 1
    The double-quotes with $@ tells the shell to double-quote each parameter (something nice to do if the parameters contain interesting characters such as parentheses or asterisks). If you don't care about that, a plain $* works... Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 23:50
  • 6
    @Lee Yes, the double quotes are necessary. Otherwise, instead of passing through the list of arguments, each argument is split at whitespace, then each piece is interpreted as a wildcard pattern and, if the pattern matches, it's replaced by the list of matches. Generally, speaking, always double quote variable substitutions. Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 23:56

You can slice the positional parameters using parameter expansion. The syntax is:


If length is omitted it is taken as till the last value.

As you were to pass from second to last arguments, you need:



$ foo() { echo "${@:2}" ;}

$ foo bar spam egg
spam egg

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