I have many PHP Files where I need to add on end "()" to every constant beginning with "L::" which don't have on end "(". It should by applied to all *.php including subfolders) :


should become:


but not touch any of them:

L::WHAT_EVER($a, $b)

Is there any sed regex command that I could apply to reach this Goal?

  • 1
    yes there is ...
    – ctac_
    Apr 1, 2019 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


It's easier with perl:

perl -pi -e 's/\bL::\w++\K(?!\()/()/g' ./*.php
  • \bL::: L:: following a word boundary (to avoid replacing NIL::Foo ones).
  • \w: any word character (ASCII letters, numbers or underscore)
  • ++: one or more (of the \ws), but don't backtrack
  • \K: set the start of the matched portion (so just after that word)
  • (?!...): negative look ahead assertion. So here only matches if what follows is not a (.

Perl and the better regex engine is easier as it has lookaround feature, for GNU sed testing:

sed -E 's/(\w+::\w+)([^(].+)?/\1()\2/' ./*.php

solving recursive glob process:

find . -iname '*.php' -exec sed -E 's/(\w+::\w+)([^(].+)?/\1()\2/' '{}' +

for its real editing, add -i option,

find . -iname '*.php' -exec sed -i -E 's/(\w+::\w+)([^(].+)?/\1()\2/' '{}' +

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