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class="post-443348 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry" id="post-443348">

Unable to preserve a multi-word argument surrounded by double-quotes as a single argument in a Bash function

I’ve been stuck on this issue around variable expansion in Bash scripts where a multi-word argument surrounded by spaces is getting split into multiple arguments when passed down a chain of functions.

For example:

"this entire string"

becomes:

"this
entire
string"

Extracting out the arrangement of functions out of the code that it’s causing the issue in, below is what I could come up with to reproduce the issue:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# The function that gets called from outside the script
wrapper_function () {
    echo "1: Parameter count: $#"
    for i in "$@"; do
        echo "wrapper_function - $i"
    done
    actual_function $@
}

# The actual low-level function that does something useful
actual_function () {
    echo "2: Parameter count: $#"
    for i in "$@"; do
        echo "actual_function - $i"
    done
}

# Setting the value of the 'problematic' argument
some_string="\"five-1 five-2\""

# Calling the function with a collated set of arguments
wrapper_function "one two three four ${some_string}"

On running this I would get:

1: Parameter count: 1
wrapper_function - one two three four "five-1 five-2"
2: Parameter count: 6
actual_function - one
actual_function - two
actual_function - three
actual_function - four
actual_function - "five-1
actual_function - five-2"

Instead, I expect:

1: Parameter count: 1
wrapper_function - one two three four "five-1 five-2"
2: Parameter count: 5
actual_function - one
actual_function - two
actual_function - three
actual_function - four
actual_function - "five-1 five-2"

Is there anything that I could do to get around this, maybe quoting some arguments or passing them around some other way?

I found a similar question that this one might look like a duplicate of but I think it’s not.

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