## Update ## I went back and read your entire question and realized that I had originally answered a question slightly different than the one you asked, so here goes: 1. Your structure is fine. Parse the command option at the beginning of the script. 2. Yes, you can use a `case` statement, checking against `$1` (see my original answer below), although if you are only planning a single option, you can just as easily perform a single test (see my original answer below). To use a `case` statement with multiple possible options, place it in a `while` loop, in the form `while "$1" ; do case ... esac; shift; done`. The `shift` command will replace `$1` with the next word / option from your command line. ## Original answer ## There are several ways of dealing with this. If this is the only option, or if there are only a few, you may consider parsing it manually yourself. In shell-speak, all words after the shell command are called *parameters*, and each is assigned to a *positional parameter*, in the form `$n` with `n` starting at 1. Thus, you can perform a test to check whether `[[ $1 == "--nomail" ]]` and act accordingly. That's the simple straightforward way for only a single option. For more complex shell scripts with many options, you may want to avail yourself of some form of `getopts` command to parse the options for you. The `bash` shell includes a version of `getopts` as a builtin, and you can learn more about it by typing `man bash` at the command line and then (if your default pager is set to `less`) `/^ *getopt`.