How to limit the number of results returned from grep in Linux?

LinuxOperating SystemOpen Source

In order to be able to grep limit the number of results returned from grep command in Linux, we must first understand what a grep command is and how to use it on Linux.

The grep command in Linux is used to filter searches in a file for a particular pattern of characters. It is one of the most used Linux utility commands to display the lines that contain the pattern that we are trying to search.

Normally, the pattern that we are trying to search in the file is referred to as the regular expression.

Syntax

grep [options] pattern [files]

While there are plenty of different options available to us, some of the most used are −

-c : It lists only a count of the lines that match a pattern
-h : displays the matched lines only.
-i : Ignores, case for matching
-l : prints filenames only
-n : Display the matched lines and their line numbers.
-v : It prints out all the lines that do not match the pattern

Syntax

grep -rni "word" *

In the above command replace the “word” placeholder with

For that we make use of the command shown below −

grep -rni "func main()" *

The above command will try to find a string “func main()” in all the files in a particular directory and also in the subdirectories as well.

Output

main.go:120:func main() {}

In case we only want to find a particular pattern in a single directory and not the subdirectories then we need to use the command shown below −

grep -s "func main()" *

In the above command we made use of the -s flag which will help us to not get a warning for each subdirectory that is present inside the directory where we are running the command.

Output

main.go:120:func main() {}

Now, consider that I have a .txt file and the content of the file looks something like this.

Command

immukul@192 d2 % cat 2.txt
orange apple is great together
apple not great
is apple good
orange good apple not

Now I want to use the grep command for all the lines that contain both the words ‘apple’ and ‘orange’.

Command

grep 'orange' 2.txt | grep 'apple'

Output

immukul@192 d2 % grep 'orange' 2.txt | grep 'apple'
orange apple is great together
orange good apple not

Now that we can notice that two strings matched with our grep query, we can limit the result with the help of the command shown below

Command

grep -m 1 'orange' 2.txt | grep 'apple

Output

immukul@192 d2 % grep -m 1 'orange' 2.txt | grep 'apple'

orange apple is great together
raja
Published on 30-Jul-2021 08:57:34
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