I wrote following line in my script , but it not assigning any value to variable a

a= grep -n mark /etc/samba/smb.conf |cut -d: f1

I aspect line number where mark string present in smb.conf in variable a. But value of variable is null. What may be the issue

5 Answers 5


Two things:

  1. There can be no spaces between name of the variable, the = signal and the value of the variable
  2. If you want to put the results of a command or series of commands on a variable, you must enclose it on $(command) or old style backticks. Both lines below are correct and do the same thing:


So your line must be

a=$(grep -n mark /etc/samba/smb.conf |cut -d: f1)

There are some differences on how to concatenate the use of backticks or new style $(), check this question on SO to see a good response.

  • +1. I recommend putting the delimiter character in single quotes, too: -d':'. It's not needed here, but it's a good habit to have. Mar 9, 2011 at 13:06
a=`grep -n mark /etc/samba/smb.conf |cut -d: -f1`

Try this instead

a=$(grep -n mark /etc/samba/smb.conf |cut -d: f1)

Or instead of the $() you could use backticks (which here turn on the nice code look)


Should be a=$( ... ) or

a=` … `

Maybe by trying to use cut like this:

a=`grep -n mark /etc/samba/smb.conf |cut -d: -f1`

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