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Learning AWK Programming by Shiwang Kalkhanda

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What is a regular expression?

A regular expression, or regexpr, is a set of characters used to describe a pattern. A regular expression is generally used to match lines in a file that contain a particular pattern. Many Unix utilities operate on plain text files line by line, such as grep, sed, and awk. Regular expressions search for a pattern on a single line in a file.

A regular expression doesn't search for a pattern that begins on one line and ends on another. Other programming languages may support this, notably Perl.

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