Shell Syntax (Bash Reference Manual)

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3.1 Shell Syntax

Shell Operation    The basic operation of the shell.
Quoting    How to remove the special meaning from characters.
Comments    How to specify comments.

When the shell reads input, it proceeds through a sequence of operations. If the input indicates the beginning of a comment, the shell ignores the comment symbol (‘#’), and the rest of that line.

Otherwise, roughly speaking, the shell reads its input and divides the input into words and operators, employing the quoting rules to select which meanings to assign various words and characters.

The shell then parses these tokens into commands and other constructs, removes the special meaning of certain words or characters, expands others, redirects input and output as needed, executes the specified command, waits for the command’s exit status, and makes that exit status available for further inspection or processing.