Getting the error below as I'm sure my syntax is off somehow with the nested conditionals. Basically I don't want to send an empty message to my telegram_bot which throws an error if it detects empty message. The first IF just detects if its NULL which works. But the case on line 32 doesnt.

xxx.sh: line 32: syntax error near unexpected token `)'
xxx.sh: line 32: `    *)       # contains nothing or only spaces'

 26 if  [ -z "$message" ]; then
 27         echo "Please pipe a message to me!"
 28 else
 29   case $message in
 30     *[!\ ]*) # contains non-space
 31         sendTelegram                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
 32     *)       # contains nothing or only spaces
 33         DO NOTHING...
 34   esac
 35 fi

1 Answer 1


You need to terminate your case clauses:

case $message in
    *[!\ ]*) # contains non-space
    *)       # contains nothing or only spaces
        DO NOTHING..

Conditional Constructs

Each clause must be terminated with ;;, ;&, or ;;&.

If the ;; operator is used, no subsequent matches are attempted after the first pattern match. Using ;& in place of ;; causes execution to continue with the command-list associated with the next clause, if any. Using ;;& in place of ;; causes the shell to test the patterns in the next clause, if any, and execute any associated command-list on a successful match.

As Kusalananda points out you can actually skip the terminator in the last clause if you so desire.

  • 1
    The ;; is not needed in the last branch.
    – Kusalananda
    Feb 22, 2019 at 22:32
  • @Kusalananda: TIL. I have always included it though, I don't think it should cause any issues, no?
    – jesse_b
    Feb 22, 2019 at 22:33
  • 1
    No, there's nothing wrong with including it. It's just optional at the very end.
    – Kusalananda
    Feb 22, 2019 at 22:34
  • @ilkkachu POSIX grammar it is.
    – Kusalananda
    Feb 22, 2019 at 22:50
  • can i just leave my lines 32 and 33 out completely since I just want it to do nothing anyways? Feb 22, 2019 at 22:52

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