This works inside double quotes, or in the absence of quotes. Bash escape quotes – Linux Hint, grep "$(date +'%b %d')". Double quotes. Addition to the accepted answer: While I generally agree with @l0b0's answer here, I suspect the placement of bare backticks in the "worst to best" list is at least partly a result of the assumption that $(...) is available everywhere. How can I tell it to evaluate an expression within another expression evaluation? This is convenient when you do not want to use the escape characters to change the way the bash interprets the input string. All behaviour being studied can be explained by the documentation except for escaping double quotes in an inner backticks string inside a double quoted string. First, bash parse the right hand side of assignment to one long string $( cd "$( dirname "${BASH_SOURCE[0]}" )" && pwd ) because double quote can appear inside double quotes. Single Quotes. All characters within are interpreted as regular characters except for $ or ` which will be expanded on the shell. This can be seen in columns 2 and 3 in the example above. 3.1.2.3 Double Quotes. And thus ends the lesson of the quotes. No character in the single quote has special meaning. Backslash ( ) can also retain its value when it is used by following backticks, double quote and backslash. All characters within single quotes are interpreted as a string character. Single Quotes Wrapping single quotes inside of double quotes will cancel out the expected behavior of the single quotes in the MySQL Query and instead treat it as part of the string. Inserting two double quotes in the middle of the string will cancel out one of them. In fact, with $() instead of backticks, you should be able to keep the inner double quotes: grep "$(date +"%b %d")" A double quote may be quoted within double quotes by preceding it with a backslash. In the meantime, all my notes are in the attached text file. (There are slight differences between the shells on this.) Here is an example where backticks and $() behave differently: $ echo "$(echo \"test\")" "test" $ echo "`echo \"test\"`" test My understanding was this is because "backslashes (\) inside backticks are handled in a non-obvious manner" But it seems like this is something else because when I remove outer double quotes the results became similar: Use when you want to enclose variables or use shell expansion inside a string. It does not work inside single quotes. After then, bash start parsing the command substitution. I was at first worried that `date '+%m'` would return a string but apparently expr does the math okay normally, so the problem is how to get it to evaluate an inner set of backticks within the outer set of backticks. Backticks within backticks? This allows us to use old-style command substitution with backticks and variable substitution (dollar sign) within double quoted strings: Putting \ in front of a metacharacter removes its special meaning. I'm sufficiently disturbed by this that instead of coding a fix for the lexer, I will ask the bash maintainers about it first. Double Quotes. Enclosing characters in double quotes (‘"’) preserves the literal value of all characters within the quotes, with the exception of ‘$’, ‘`’, ‘\’, and, when history expansion is enabled, ‘!When the shell is in POSIX mode (see Bash POSIX Mode), the ‘!’ has no special meaning within double quotes, even when history expansion is enabled. The dollar sign ( $ ) and backticks ( ` ) characters can able to keep their special meaning within double quotes. Double quotes ( ” ) is another way to preserve the literal value of the characters. 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