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Reading regular expressions

by James889
Tags: expressions, reading, regular
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Nov26-12, 02:30 PM
P: 184

I came across a regular expression i couldn't get my head around.

' there \([^ ]*\)'
echo "Howdy there neighbor" | sed 's/there \([^ ]*\)//'
returns howdy.

It's the subgroup that's a bit confusing.

match any sentence which contains banana then a space and then a non-space character.

Is this the correct way of interpreting this regular expression ?
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Nov26-12, 02:43 PM
P: 872
So, basically, it matches "there " (the word 'there' followed with a blank space) followed with as many consecutive non-blank spaces as it can find "[^ ]*" and replaces that with nothing.

You can test that only replaces what I said, if you test it with "Howdy there neighbor what up?"

Oh, the back slashes are there to escape the parenthesis within the double quotes
Nov28-12, 11:08 AM
P: 184
Quote Quote by gsal View Post
.. followed with as many consecutive non-blank spaces as it can find "[^ ]*" and replaces that with nothing.

Is this the same as saying 'match as much as possible up until a white space is found' ?

Nov28-12, 02:02 PM
P: 378
Reading regular expressions

"White space" would normally include tab characters. This will eat everything up until the first space character; that detail aside, yes.
Nov28-12, 02:43 PM
P: 872
Sorry, I guess I need to be more correct, like Ibix says.

The expression "[^ ]*" will consume consecutive character after character until it finds a "blank space" character.

A "blank space" character itself is not the same as "white space" in is a subset. If the regular expression is looking for "white space" then, "blank space" and "tab" characters qualify....but if you are looking for "blank space", then a "tab" is a totally different character.

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