I'm trying to create a SQL Query and trying to assign it to some variable but I couldn't do that.

QUERY="select * from $TABLENAME"
echo $QUERY

I'm expecting the Query would be select * from foo

Instead of that I'm getting select [file names in the directory] from foo

Here is exactly what I'm getting instead of getting the Original Query.

select Anaconda3-5.3.1-Linux-x86_64.sh hadoop-2.7.3 hadoop-2.7.3.tar.gz script.sh from foo


You have to quote your variable:

echo "$QUERY"

Otherwise the shell expands the * to the files in the current directory.

Try echo "*" and echo * in your shell.

The * is part of a feature of your shell (probably Bash) called Pathname Expansion.

From the bash man page:

The special pattern characters have the following meanings:

*      Matches any string, including the null string.  When the globstar  shell  option
       is  enabled, and * is used in a pathname expansion context, two adjacent *s used
       as a single pattern will match all files and zero or more directories and subdi-
       rectories.   If followed by a /, two adjacent *s will match only directories and

To prevent this you can escape the * with a backslash \, or quote it with double quotes " or single quotes '


# no pathname expansion
$ echo \*
$ echo "*"
$ echo '*'

# pathname expansion
$ echo *
file_x file_y file_z_in_this_directory

The problem with single quotes is, that it would prevent the expansion of your variables (also called parameter expansion). All characters are interpreted literally.

# no variable expansion
$ echo '$QUERY'

# variable expansion
$ echo "$QUERY"
select * from foo

# variable expansion and pathname expansion
$ echo $QUERY
select file_x file_y file_z_in_this_directory from foo
  • Yes it Works !!! Thanks Freddy ! Please tell me, how it works and why that was not working ? – Parvathi Rajan Apr 18 at 19:00
  • @ParvathiRajan Added a short explanation. – Freddy Apr 18 at 19:49
  • @ParvathiRajan You should (almost) always double-quote variable references in a shell script. This is only one of the things that can go wrong when they're not double-quoted. – Gordon Davisson Apr 19 at 6:13

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