The variable BUILDNUMBER is set to value 230. I expect 230_ to be printed for the command echo $BUILDNUMBER_ but the output is empty as shown below.



2 Answers 2


The command echo $BUILDNUMBER_ is going to print the value of variable $BUILDNUMBER_ which is not set (underscore is a valid character for a variable name as explicitly noted by Jeff Schaller)

You just need to apply braces (curly brackets) around the variable name or use the most rigid printf tool:

echo "${BUILDNUMBER}_"
printf '%s_\n' "$BUILDNUMBER"

PS: Always quote your variables.

  • 1
    The documentation and the standard use the term "null" for a variable set to an empty string (as opposed to an unset variable). I took the liberty of editing.
    – ilkkachu
    Apr 11, 2017 at 10:04

As George Vassiliou already explained, that's because you're printing the variable $BUILDNUMBER_ instead of $BUILDNUMBER. The best way to get what you want is to use ${BUILDNUMBER}_ as George explained. Here are some more options:

$ echo "$BUILDNUMBER"_
$ echo $BUILDNUMBER"_"
$ printf '%s_\n' "$BUILDNUMBER"
  • We know what the variable holds, but we don't know what $IFS holds, so echo $BUILDNUMBER"_" is still wrong. Of the three, only printf '%s_\n' "$BUILDNUMBER" is correct if we don't know what $BUILDNUMBER or $IFS hold. Jan 31, 2019 at 8:05

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