How To Get All But First Argument In Bash

Shell Programming

Hey there! So you want to learn how to get all but the first argument in a bash script? Well, I’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of this topic.

Understanding the Problem

When working with bash scripts, it’s not uncommon to encounter situations where you need to exclude the first argument from a list of passed arguments. This can be quite useful in various scenarios, such as when you want to iterate over all arguments except the first one.

Solution using Positional Parameters

In bash, the arguments passed to a script are stored in positional parameters. The first argument is represented by $1, the second one by $2, and so on. To get all arguments except the first one, you can make use of the ${@:2} syntax.

Here’s a simple example to demonstrate this:

echo "All but the first argument: $args_except_first"

Using Shift

Another way to achieve the same result is by using the shift command. This command shifts the positional parameters to the left by n positions, effectively removing the first argument. You can use it like this:

echo "All but the first argument: $@"

Personal Touch

While both methods achieve the same goal, I personally find the ${@:2} syntax to be more direct and intuitive. It explicitly conveys the intention of getting all arguments starting from the second one, whereas the shift approach requires an additional line of code and may be less clear to someone reading the script for the first time.


So there you have it! You now know how to extract all but the first argument in a bash script using positional parameters or the shift command. These techniques can come in handy when dealing with command-line arguments in your bash scripts. Happy scripting!