Print Next Word Before or After Pattern Match [SOLVED]


Written by - Deepak Prasad

The world of computing is deeply intertwined with the realm of text processing. Every configuration file you've edited, every script you've executed, every data you've analyzed – they all revolve around the manipulation of text. This manipulation becomes a pivotal skill when operating in Unix-like environments, where even the most complex operations can often boil down to filtering and transforming text data.

 

Grep: More Than Just Matching

grep is an indispensable tool in the Unix toolkit. Its name derives from the command sequence in the original Unix text editor ed: g/re/p (globally search for a regular expression and print). Over the years, grep has evolved from a simple pattern searcher to a versatile text processing utility.

For grep, especially when using the -P (Perl-compatible) option, the fundamental idea is to use the \K escape sequence, which allows the tool to "reset" the start of the reported match.

grep -oP 'PATTERN\KTARGET'

 

Syntax to capture content after a Pattern using grep

Here is a table covering some use cases of grep and match:

Usage Scenario Command Syntax Description
Single Word after Match grep -oP 'Pattern\s\K\w+' This extracts the single word immediately following the specified pattern.
Multiple Words after Match grep -oP 'Pattern\s\K.*' This command captures all text following the pattern up to the end of the line.
Everything after Match grep -oP 'Pattern\K.*' Similar to the previous, but this includes everything after the pattern without space.
Specific Characters after Match grep -oP 'Pattern\K.{N}' Replace N with the number of characters you want to extract after the pattern.
Non-Greedy Matching grep -oP 'Pattern\K.*?(?=TerminatingPattern)' This captures everything after the pattern until it encounters the 'TerminatingPattern'.

Key Points to Remember:

  • -o flag: Outputs only the matched parts of the line, not the entire line.
  • -P flag: Enables Perl-compatible regular expressions, which are necessary for more advanced features like \K (used to reset the start of the match).
  • \K: This part of the regex discards anything that was matched before \K. It’s crucial for 'everything after' scenarios.
  • Regular Expressions: grep is powerful with regex patterns. Understanding basic to advanced regex will greatly enhance your use of grep.
  • Performance: Be aware that complex patterns with non-greedy matching can impact performance, especially on large files.
  • Context Control: Flags like -A, -B, and -C can be used with grep to control the number of lines displayed after, before, and around the matched lines, respectively, for more contextual information.

 

Syntax to capture content before a Pattern using grep

When dealing with content preceding a pattern in grep, look-behind assertions come into play. Here's a table for grep that captures content before a specified pattern:

Usage Scenario Command Syntax Description
Single Word before Match grep -oP '\w+\s(?=Pattern)' This extracts the single word immediately preceding the specified pattern.
Multiple Words before Match grep -oP '.*(?=Pattern)' This command captures all text preceding the pattern on the same line.
Everything before Match grep -oP '.*?(?=Pattern)' Similar to the previous, but it stops capturing at the first occurrence of the pattern.
Specific Characters before Match grep -oP '.{N}(?=Pattern)' Replace N with the number of characters you want to extract before the pattern.
Non-Greedy Matching grep -oP 'StartingPattern.*?(?=Pattern)' This captures everything after 'StartingPattern' and before the 'Pattern'.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Lookahead Assertions: The (?=Pattern) part is a lookahead assertion which matches a group after the main expression without including it in the result.
  • -o and -P flags: As before, these flags are used to output only the matched parts of the line and to enable Perl-compatible regular expressions, respectively.
  • Regular Expressions: Mastery of regex is key for effectively using grep for complex pattern matching.
  • Performance Considerations: Complex regex patterns, especially those using non-greedy matching, can be computationally intensive.
  • Understanding Greedy vs Non-Greedy: In regular expressions, greedy patterns match as much text as possible, while non-greedy (or lazy) patterns match the smallest amount of text necessary.
  • GNU grep Specific: These examples are specific to GNU grep. Other versions may have different capabilities or syntax.

 

Examples: Following a Match with grep:

Here is a table where we demonstrate different examples to grep and print next content:

Usage Scenario Example Command Expected Output
grep and Print After Match echo "I love apples." | grep -oP 'love\K.*' apples.
grep and Print Word After Match echo "Apples are sweet." | grep -oP 'Apples \K\S+' are
grep Word Before Match echo "I love apple pie." | grep -oP '\S+(?= pie)' apple
grep Name Before Price echo "An apple costs $1.25." | grep -oP '\S+(?= costs \$1.25)' apple
grep Word Before 'and' echo "Apple and orange." | grep -oP '\S+(?= and)' Apple
grep Item Before 'is' echo "apple pie is delicious." | grep -oP '\S+(?= is)' pie
bash grep Word Before Match echo "apple is a fruit." | grep -oP '\S+(?= fruit)' a
grep Adjective Before 'apple' echo "The red apple is sweet." | grep -oP '\S+(?= apple)' red
grep and Print Word After Match echo "Apples are very sweet." | grep -oP 'Apples \K\S+' are
grep and Print Next 2 Words After Match echo "Apples are very sweet." | grep -oP 'Apples \K\S+ \S+' are very
grep and Print Next 3 Words After Match echo "Apples are very sweet and juicy." | grep -oP 'Apples \K\S+ \S+ \S+' are very sweet
grep and Print Everything After Match echo "Apples are fruits." | grep -oP 'Apples\K.*' are fruits.

 

Examples: Preceding a Match with grep:

Here is a table where we demonstrate different examples to grep and print preceding content:

Topic Title Example Command Output
grep and Print Before Match echo "I love apples." | grep -oP '.*(?= apples)' I love
grep and Print Word Before Match echo "Apples are sweet." | grep -oP '\S+(?= are)' Apples
grep Word Before 'pie' echo "I love apple pie." | grep -oP '\S+(?= pie)' apple
grep Name Before Price echo "An apple costs $1.25." | grep -oP '\S+(?= costs \$1.25)' apple
grep Word Before 'and' echo "Apple and orange." | grep -oP '\S+(?= and)' Apple
grep Item Before 'is' echo "apple pie is delicious." | grep -oP '\S+(?= is)' pie
bash grep Word Before 'fruit' echo "apple is a fruit." | grep -oP '\S+(?= fruit)' a
grep Adjective Before 'apple' echo "The delicious apple is sweet." | grep -oP '\S+(?= apple)' delicious
grep and Print Previous 2 Words Before echo "I really love apple pies." | grep -oP '\S+ \S+(?= pies)' love apple
grep and Print Previous 3 Words Before echo "In summer, I really love apple pies." | grep -oP '\S+ \S+ \S+(?= pies)' really love apple
grep and Print Everything Before Match echo "I love apple pies." | grep -oP '.*(?= pies)' I love apple

 

Awk: A Powerful Text Processing Tool

awk is a versatile text processing tool that can be used to extract data based on patterns. Let's represent the described awk commands in table format:

 

Syntax to capture content before a Pattern using awk

Use awk with the -F flag to specify a delimiter (the pattern), and then print the preceding field to capture content before the pattern.

Usage Scenario Command Syntax Description
Word Before Match awk '/PATTERN/ {print $(1)}' Prints the first word of lines containing PATTERN.
Multiple Words Before Match awk '/PATTERN/ {print $(1), $(2)}' Prints the first two words of lines containing PATTERN.
Everything Before Match awk -F"PATTERN" '{print $1}' Using PATTERN as a field separator and prints everything before it.
Specific Characters Before Match Not directly feasible with a simple awk command. Would require more complex string manipulation or a combination with other tools.
Non-greedy Matching Not directly feasible with a simple awk command. Would require more complex string manipulation or a combination with other tools.

Key Points to Remember:

  • awk operates primarily on fields and records.
  • The -F option specifies a field separator.
  • $1, $2, ... $(NF) are field variables. $1 refers to the first field, $2 to the second, and so on. $(NF) refers to the last field.
  • More complex scenarios might require you to use awk's string manipulation functions, such as substr, or even combine awk with other tools like grep or sed.

 

Examples: Following a Match with awk

Topic Title Command Output
awk Print Word After Match echo "I love apples" | awk '/love/{print $3}' apples
awk Find String After Pattern echo "fruits: apples, bananas" | awk -F": " '{print $2}' apples, bananas
awk Print After Match echo "I love: apples" | awk -F": " '/love/{print $2}' apples
awk Print Substring After Match echo "I love apples" | awk '/love/{print substr($3, 2, 4)}' ppl
awk Print String After Match echo "Fruit: Apple" | awk -F": " '/Fruit/{print $2}' Apple
awk Print Characters After Match echo "Color: Blue" | awk -F": " '/Color/{print substr($2, 2, 3)}' Blu
awk Print Line After Match echo -e "Color:\nBlue" | awk '/Color/{getline; print}' Blue
awk Print Everything After Match echo "Color: Blue, Red" | awk -F": " '{print $2}' Blue, Red

 

Examples: Preceding a Match with awk

Topic Title Command Output
awk Print Word Before Match echo "I love apples" | awk '/apples/{print $2}' love
awk Find String Before Pattern echo "fruits: apples" | awk -F": " '{print $1}' fruits
awk Print Before Match echo "I love: apples" | awk -F": " '/apples/{print $1}' I love
awk Print Substring Before Match echo "I really love apples" | awk '/apples/{print substr($3, 1, 4)}' real
awk Print String Before Match echo "Fruit: Apple" | awk -F": " '/Apple/{print $1}' Fruit
awk Print Characters Before Match echo "Color: Blue" | awk -F": " '/Blue/{print substr($1, 1, 3)}' Col
awk Print Line Before Match echo -e "Color:\nBlue" | awk '/Blue/{getline; print}' Color:
awk Print Everything Before Match echo "Color: Blue, Red" | awk -F"Blue" '{print $1}' Color:

 

Summary

Text manipulation is an integral aspect of data processing, and Bash offers a rich suite of tools to perform these tasks effectively. This article delves deep into the intricacies of commands like grep and awk, elucidating how they can be harnessed to extract specific content following or preceding a match. Through a series of intuitive examples and tables, readers are familiarized with diverse scenarios and command syntaxes. Advanced users will particularly appreciate the section dedicated to combining various tools for complex manipulations, which accentuates the versatility of Bash. Whether you're a beginner aiming to understand the basics or a seasoned user seeking advanced tips, this comprehensive guide ensures you're well-equipped to manipulate text data with finesse in Bash.

 

References

Using grep to get the next WORD after a match in each line
get the next word after grep matching - bash - Stack Overflow
Grep and print only matching word and the next words
Use grep to get next word after match

 

Deepak Prasad

He is the founder of GoLinuxCloud and brings over a decade of expertise in Linux, Python, Go, Laravel, DevOps, Kubernetes, Git, Shell scripting, OpenShift, AWS, Networking, and Security. With extensive experience, he excels in various domains, from development to DevOps, Networking, and Security, ensuring robust and efficient solutions for diverse projects. You can reach out to him on his LinkedIn profile or join on Facebook page.

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4 thoughts on “Print Next Word Before or After Pattern Match [SOLVED]”

  1. I've log file, it contains java exceptions, need to capture between 2 timestamps, sample log file contents:
    22 Apr 2023 01:31:34.051,INFO,[104:ServerService Thread Pool -- 65], xyz, [0],
    22 Apr 2023 01:31:34.051,ERROR,[104:ServerService Thread Pool -- 65], xyz, [0],[com.xyz.startup],Exception
           at org.sprinframework etc..................
           at org.sprinframework etc..................
           at org.sprinframework etc..................
    22 Apr 2023 01:31:35.067,ERROR,[104:ServerService Thread Pool -- 65], xyz, [0],

    the same above one going to repeat in log files with different timestamps., so, I need a command or script, to capture all lines in between 2 timestamps.
    So, please share,
    Thanks in advance

    Reply

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