I want to count the occurrence of a pattern per line and also get the last matching line number

So for counting patterns I would use

grep -c pattern file

and for last matching line number

grep -n pattern file | cut -d : -f 1 | tail -1

Is there any way by which I get both the results by greping only once? The file I am working with is large and I need to iterate this for several patterns, so I would like to avoid greping twice.

1 Answer 1


You could use awk instead of grep:

awk '/pattern/ {last = NR; count++}
     END {printf "Last: %s\nCount: %d\n", last, count}' < file

Beware that awk patterns are extended regular expressions (with slight differences with grep -E ones wrt backslash).

You could also use only one awk invocations for all your patterns:

awk '!patterns_finished{patterns[$0]; next}
       for (p in patterns) if ($0 ~ p) {
         last[p] = NR
     END {
       for (p in patterns)
         printf "%s: count=%d last=%s\n", count[p], last[p]
     }' patterns.txt patterns_finished=1 file

(assuming patterns.txt contains the list of patterns, one per line).

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