shift man page


This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer's Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

shift — shift positional parameters


shift [n]


The positional parameters shall be shifted. Positional parameter 1 shall be assigned the value of parameter (1+n), parameter 2 shall be assigned the value of parameter (2+n), and so on. The parameters represented by the numbers "$#" down to "$#-n+1" shall be unset, and the parameter '#' is updated to reflect the new number of positional parameters.

The value n shall be an unsigned decimal integer less than or equal to the value of the special parameter '#'. If n is not given, it shall be assumed to be 1. If n is 0, the positional and special parameters are not changed.


See the Description.


Not used.

Asynchronous Events



Not used.


The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.

Exit Status

If the n operand is invalid or is greater than "$#", this may be considered a syntax error and a non-interactive shell may exit; if the shell does not exit in this case, a non-zero exit status shall be returned. Otherwise, zero shall be returned.

Consequences of Errors


The following sections are informative.


$ set a b c d e
$ shift 2
$ echo $*
c d e

See Also

Section 2.14, Special Built-In Utilities


2013 IEEE/The Open Group POSIX Programmer's Manual