On Thu, 2019-05-16 at 12:57 -0400, Jerry Geis wrote: > I have a simple bash script it will take arguments from a file that has > quotes. > > my file arg.txt would be this > -lt "*.txt" > > my script file would be > LS_ARG=`cat arg.txt` > ls $LS_ARG > > it does not run properly: > sh -x ./arg.sh > ++ cat arg.txt > + LS_ARG='-lt "*.txt"' > + ls -lt '"*.txt"' > ls: cannot access "*.txt": No such file or directory > > > How do I resolve that ? If the quotes are not in my file it all works > fine. I think its because it looks like the extra single quotes it puts > around the "*.txt" - or - '"*.txt"' - how do I do this ? I think it's to do with when the wildcard * is expanded. The expansion is not done by 'ls', it is done by the shell - so when you do 'ls *', ls doesn't see just the single argument '*', it sees multiple arguments consisting of the filenames. Using a simpler example, a shell script 'c' is: #!/bin/bash echo $# echo "1:" $1 echo "2:" $2 i.e. it displays the number of and the first two arguments: $ ./c * 4 1: a 2: a2 So there are 4 arguments (not just one) because there are four files in the directory. You can turn off the expansion (aka globbing) with 'set -f' $ set -f ; ./c * ; set +f 1 1: * 2: (But you also have to turn off globbing in the './c' script as well - that's a subshell and globbing isn't inherited #!/bin/bash set -f echo $# echo "1:" $1 echo "2:" $2 if you don't turn off globbing in the script, when $1 - which contains '*' - is echoed, it is expanded at that point.) Putting quotes around the "*" stops the expansion - this is with globbing turned off in the script: $ ./c "*" 1 1: * 2: Similarly, using ls: $ ls * a a2 arg.txt c $ set -f ; ls * ; set +f ls: cannot access '*': No such file or directory $ ls "*" ls: cannot access '*': No such file or directory I don't know how this affects what you are trying to do though! BTW, the single quotes you see when tracing the shell script is, I think, just for display purposes, they aren't actually part of the variables and are there just to show what is a single entity if there is any doubt. P.