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I want to find 3 consecutive characters and then another character or the end of the line. I tried this:

egrep '(.)\1{2}' file

but I need less results.

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    It works fine for me. If it is still not working for you, please show (a) some sample input, (b) the output that you see, and (c) your desired output. – John1024 May 20 at 19:49
  • What is the another char or end of line supposed to restrict? The only case I can see is a file which ends exactly with the 3 identical characters, and that is not a text file - a text file is either empty or it ends with a newline on unix. Are you trying to restrict to exactly 3 consecutive characters, so this is more aaaa letter a would not match? Note in that example the last three characters in aaaa and the following space match your requirement of 3 consecutive characters and then another char. – icarus May 20 at 20:02
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Can't make this work with grep, but I can make it work with egrep:
egrep -o '([[:print:]\d])\1\1([[:print:]]|$)'
That will match 3 consecutive characters, followed by either white space, a single printable character, or an end of line character.

Note: The -o prevents the issue of aBBBf matching and will show only BBBf.

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    egrep is simply grep -E – Panki May 21 at 7:14
  • Yes. egrep is grep -E on "new" Unix. In my "old school days," I don't remember egrep being an alias to grep -E. Since the OP didn't say when flavor of Unix he was using, and appears to be a non-native English speaker. Wouldn't you agree it's best to stick to old-school POSIX because we know it will work? – Scottie H May 22 at 6:58

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