I get this an error when trying to run man on a Linux system:

$ LC_ALL=C man man

man: Too many arguments
Try 'man --help' or 'man --usage' for more information.

My man command doesn't seem to be an alias:

command -v man: /usr/bin/man 

What's going on?

  • What is the output of "alias man" or simply "alias"? – rbrtflr Jan 18 at 8:58
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    Is your man an alias? Check with type man or command -v man. – Kusalananda Jan 18 at 8:59
  • alias ll='ls -l --color=auto |grep '\'' -'\''' alias ls='ls --color=auto' – NeedHelp Jan 18 at 9:02
  • command -v man: /usr/bin/man – NeedHelp Jan 18 at 9:07
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    @jayooin It's setting the default locale to the standard C locale. There is nothing strange about that bit. – Kusalananda Jan 18 at 9:22

Check the existence of MANOPT variable.

If $MANOPT is set, it will be parsed prior to man's command line and is expected to be in a similar format.



$ MANOPT='foo bar'
$ export MANOPT
$ man man
man: Too many arguments
Try 'man --help' or 'man --usage' for more information.

An obvious ad-hoc fix is to unset MANOPT. Then you should investigate where the variable came from.

  • So why is the error Too many arguments? Like if I export MANOPT=foo, why doesn't it say No manual entry for foo? – wjandrea Jan 19 at 1:06
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    @wjandrea man is probably splitting MANOPT on spaces and then running the resulting array through getopt(3), and complain if any non-option arguments (ie arguments not starting with a dash) are left. They could've used a better error message. Anyways, even a single argument is too much for it: try MANOPT=man man man. – mosvy Jan 19 at 4:57

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