On , I learnt ...

How to search for fixed strings with grep and ripgrep

To search for a fixed string (i.e. not a regex), use:

$ grep -F -- "$query"

or, better:

$ rg -F -- "$query"

Note, the -- tells Bash there are no more options and any further arguments are positional. This is required to search for queries that look like options, like -v or ->. From man bash:

 --    A -- signals the end of options and disables further option processing.
       Any arguments after the -- are treated as filenames and arguments. An
       argument of - is equivalent to --.

I noticed this when doing a quick search for symlinks in my home directory. Using the incorrect:

$ ls -la ~ | grep -F "->"

causes grep to complain about an unknown option.

grep: invalid option -- >
usage: grep [-abcDEFGHhIiJLlmnOoqRSsUVvwxZ] [-A num] [-B num] [-C[num]]
	[-e pattern] [-f file] [--binary-files=value] [--color=when]
	[--context[=num]] [--directories=action] [--label] [--line-buffered]
	[--null] [pattern] [file ...]

For the record, a more robust way of listing symlinks in a directory is:

$ find ~ -type l -maxdepth 1

although that doesn’t show where they link to.