3.1.2.3 Double Quotes. Bash escape quotes – Linux Hint, grep "$(date +'%b %d')". All characters within single quotes are interpreted as a string character. This allows us to use old-style command substitution with backticks and variable substitution (dollar sign) within double quoted strings: This is convenient when you do not want to use the escape characters to change the way the bash interprets the input string. And thus ends the lesson of the quotes. (There are slight differences between the shells on this.) Here is an example where backticks and $() behave differently: $ echo "$(echo \"test\")" "test" $ echo "`echo \"test\"`" test My understanding was this is because "backslashes (\) inside backticks are handled in a non-obvious manner" But it seems like this is something else because when I remove outer double quotes the results became similar: First, bash parse the right hand side of assignment to one long string $( cd "$( dirname "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" && pwd ) because double quote can appear inside double quotes. Use when you want to enclose variables or use shell expansion inside a string. After then, bash start parsing the command substitution. Double quotes escape most characters, except the double quote " the backtick `, the dollar sign $, the backslash \, and the exclamation mark !. Single Quotes. Enclosing characters in double quotes (‘"’) preserves the literal value of all characters within the quotes, with the exception of ‘$’, ‘`’, ‘\’, and, when history expansion is enabled, ‘!When the shell is in POSIX mode (see Bash POSIX Mode), the ‘!’ has no special meaning within double quotes, even when history expansion is enabled. Addition to the accepted answer: While I generally agree with @l0b0's answer here, I suspect the placement of bare backticks in the "worst to best" list is at least partly a result of the assumption that $(...) is available everywhere. The dollar sign ( $ ) and backticks ( ` ) characters can able to keep their special meaning within double quotes. No character in the single quote has special meaning. Wrapping single quotes inside of double quotes will cancel out the expected behavior of the single quotes in the MySQL Query and instead treat it as part of the string. I'm sufficiently disturbed by this that instead of coding a fix for the lexer, I will ask the bash maintainers about it first. In the meantime, all my notes are in the attached text file. Inserting two double quotes in the middle of the string will cancel out one of them. Double Quotes. Double quotes ( ” ) is another way to preserve the literal value of the characters. It does not work inside single quotes. All behaviour being studied can be explained by the documentation except for escaping double quotes in an inner backticks string inside a double quoted string. Backslash ( ) can also retain its value when it is used by following backticks, double quote and backslash. In fact, with $() instead of backticks, you should be able to keep the inner double quotes: grep "$(date +"%b %d")" A double quote may be quoted within double quotes by preceding it with a backslash. Single Quotes Putting \ in front of a metacharacter removes its special meaning. 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