Typo correction in Bash

If you make a typo in a long command line in Bash, instead of typing it all out again, you can either recall it from your history, or use caret notation to repeat the command with an appropriate substitution. This looks like the following:

# sudo apache2ctl restrat
Action 'restrat' failed.
The Apache error log may have more information.
# ^strat^start
sudo apache2ctl restart

The string after the first caret is the text to match, and the one after the second string is the text with which it should be replaced. This provides a convenient method of not only quickly correcting typos, but to change small parts of the command line in general quickly:

$ touch filea.txt
$ ^filea^fileb
touch fileb.txt
$ ^fileb^filec
touch filec.txt

For the particular case of correcting small errors in long paths for cd calls, it’s helpful to use the cdspell option for Bash, which I discuss in my earlier article on smarter directory navigation.

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