I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing wrong with this one. I'm trying to run the command

alias localip='ip -4 -o addr show eth0 | egrep -o '([[:digit:]]{1,3}\.){3}[[:digit:]]{1,3}' | head -n 1'

If I run the command

ip -4 -o addr show eth0 | egrep -o '([[:digit:]]{1,3}\.){3}[[:digit:]]{1,3}' | head -n 1

I get the result I expect, however, when trying to create an alias with the command, I get

-bash: syntax error near unexpected token `('

Any help would be appreciated. TIA.

2 Answers 2


You're nesting single quotes within single quotes. That doesn't work.

Try using "double quotes" in the inner expression.


I found it a much cleaner solution to just create a function and name your alias after the function, like this:

alias localip=GetLocalIP

function GetLocalIP()
   ip -4 -o addr show eth0 | egrep -o '([[:digit:]]{1,3}\.){3}[[:digit:]]{1,3}' | head -n 1
  • 6
    What's the advantage of creating an alias to a function, rather than just naming the function localip? Also, the function keyword breaks compatibility with other shells. I'd suggest just using localip() { ...
    – Tom Fenech
    Jan 9, 2016 at 15:33
  • @TomFenech Your suggestion works in general. It's just a personal style that works for me: All my functions start with a verb, so that it makes sense in code (reused elsewhere). . However, that style slows me down when it comes to CLI typing. So alias comes as a compromise. Verbosity like the function keyword helps me define code parsers or generators later.
    – kakyo
    Apr 17, 2019 at 2:25
  • @tom-fenech - I'm going to poke around in some of the other shells I tend to use, but out of curiosity, what are some of the shells that are incompatible?
    – AFK
    Dec 26, 2021 at 6:34
  • 1
    @AFK see this question for a thorough discussion on that topic.
    – Tom Fenech
    Feb 8 at 12:37

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