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Bash Reference Manual

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3.2.1 Simple Commands

A simple command is the kind of command encountered most often. It's just a sequence of words separated by blanks, terminated by one of the shell's control operators (see section 2. Definitions). The first word generally specifies a command to be executed, with the rest of the words being that command's arguments.

The return status (see section 3.7.5 Exit Status) of a simple command is its exit status as provided by the POSIX 1003.1 waitpid function, or 128+n if the command was terminated by signal n.

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