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A Correction on Grep

A Correction on Grep To the Editor: In Dictionaries (2007) in Kleinedler's review of The Official Dictionary of Unoffidal English, you added an editorial note defining the term grep as 'a means of sorting on strings in Unix.' That is wrong. Grep is an acronym for Global Regular Expression Print and it searches; it does not sort. To understand what grep does (because it is a computer program that causes an action), think of a river flowing past a man standing at the shore picking out things of interest and putting them on the side. That's what grep does: you give it a pattern of a certain type and it catches all occurrences of that pattern in a file of text as the text flows by. So, if I give the Unix command grep chocolate recipes.txt, the file recipes.txt will be examined and all lines of text containing the word chocolate will be printed; other lines will be ignored. Sorry to be pedantic, but in computer science there is a world of difference between sorting a file and searching a file. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grep for lots more information. Prof. Edward M. ReingoldEmail: reingold@iit.edu Department of Computer ScienceVoice: (312) 567-3309 Illinois Institute of TechnologyFax: (312)567-5067 Stuart Building, 228F 10 West 31st Street Chicago, IL 60616-3729 U.S.A. The Editor regrets this error and is grateful to Prof. Reingoldfor the clarification. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America Dictionary Society of North America

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Dictionary Society of North America
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Copyright © The Dictionary Society of North America
ISSN
2160-5076
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Abstract

To the Editor: In Dictionaries (2007) in Kleinedler's review of The Official Dictionary of Unoffidal English, you added an editorial note defining the term grep as 'a means of sorting on strings in Unix.' That is wrong. Grep is an acronym for Global Regular Expression Print and it searches; it does not sort. To understand what grep does (because it is a computer program that causes an action), think of a river flowing past a man standing at the shore picking out things of interest and putting them on the side. That's what grep does: you give it a pattern of a certain type and it catches all occurrences of that pattern in a file of text as the text flows by. So, if I give the Unix command grep chocolate recipes.txt, the file recipes.txt will be examined and all lines of text containing the word chocolate will be printed; other lines will be ignored. Sorry to be pedantic, but in computer science there is a world of difference between sorting a file and searching a file. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grep for lots more information. Prof. Edward M. ReingoldEmail: reingold@iit.edu Department of Computer ScienceVoice: (312) 567-3309 Illinois Institute of TechnologyFax: (312)567-5067 Stuart Building, 228F 10 West 31st Street Chicago, IL 60616-3729 U.S.A. The Editor regrets this error and is grateful to Prof. Reingoldfor the clarification.

Journal

Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North AmericaDictionary Society of North America

Published: Apr 4, 2008

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