For example, I wanted to use the sort utility with the -t option to specify tab separators, but
sort -t "\t"
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Don't use double quotes.
sort -t $'\t'
Or I think Ctrl V inserts a Tab??
You can also use printf:
sort -t "$(printf "\t")"
printf use double quotes which allow you to use environment variables, like below:
char="\t" # any source just plain text sort -t "$(printf "$char")"
Single quote is static and not flexible, though it's simple, you can choose based on your requirement.