Strange "cut" command's behaviour


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# 1  
Strange "cut" command's behaviour

Hi,

Suppose if I have a file having data like this:
Code:
$ cat file.txt
A
B C
D

And, if I do a cut operation like this:
Code:
$ cut -d" "  -f2 file.txt

The output is
Code:
A
C
D

This is the same for even if we try to get the field 3 with -f3 (assume line 2 has 3 fields : C E F).

The above output is applicable only when there is only one field per line.

But, if the file contains more then one field, like:
Code:
$ cat file.txt
A B
B C F
D E

Then, applying the command to fetch column 3 as:
Code:
$ cut -d" "  -f3 file.txt

results in:
Code:
 
F

Why this behavior?

Last edited by royalibrahim; 07-15-2011 at 09:25 AM..
# 2  
man cut

-f list The list following -f is a list of fields
assumed to be separated in the file by a
delimiter character (see -d ); for instance,
-f1,7 copies the first and seventh field
only. Lines with no field delimiters will be
passed through intact (useful for table sub-
headings), unless -s is specified
.
-n Do not split characters. When -b list and -n
are used together, list is adjusted so that
no multi-byte character is split.
-s Suppresses lines with no delimiter charac-
ters in case of -f option. Unless specified,
lines with no delimiters will be passed
through untouched.
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