How to Fix dquote> in zsh

The command line interface has been a critical tool for developers and power users for decades, providing quick and direct access to system resources and applications. On macOS, the Zsh shell has become increasingly popular as a powerful alternative to the default Bash shell, offering advanced features such as customizable prompts, file globbing, and enhanced auto-completion.
However, with great power comes the potential for great frustration, and many users have encountered issues with double quotes (dquote>) in their shell scripts. In this article, we’ll explore some common dquote errors in Zsh on macOS and provide practical tips and solutions for avoiding or resolving them. Whether you’re a seasoned shell scripter or a newcomer to the world of command line interfaces, this guide will help you master the art of quoting in the shell and enhance your productivity on macOS.

Forgotten second quote

The dquote> prompt that you are seeing is an indication that the shell is expecting a closing double quote (") for a previously opened double quote. This can happen if you have started a double-quoted string and forgot to close it.

To fix this, make sure that all opening double quotes in your script are matched with their corresponding closing double quotes. You can also try adding a closing double quote where you see the dquote> prompt to see if that resolves the issue.

Exclamation mark ! within a double-quoted string

If you have an exclamation mark ! within a double-quoted string, the shell may interpret it as the start of a history expansion or other special character and expect you to complete it with an appropriate closing character. This can result in the dquote> prompt being displayed.

To avoid this, you can either escape the exclamation mark by preceding it with a backslash \, or use single quotes to enclose the string instead of double quotes.

Here are some examples:

Escaping the exclamation mark:


Using single quotes:


By using one of these methods, the shell will treat the exclamation mark as a regular character and you should not encounter the dquote> prompt.

Error in a script

If you’re still having trouble, you can try reviewing your script for any syntax errors or using a shell script debugger to help you locate the issue.


dquote errors can be a common frustration when working with the Zsh shell on macOS, but with the tips and solutions provided in this article, you should be able to avoid or resolve them quickly and easily. By mastering the art of quoting in the shell, you can streamline your workflow, reduce errors, and become a more efficient and effective developer or power user. Whether you’re writing simple scripts or complex applications, taking the time to understand and apply best practices for quoting will pay off in the long run. With the power and flexibility of Zsh and macOS at your fingertips, the possibilities for shell scripting are virtually limitless. So go forth, experiment, and enjoy the benefits of a well-crafted and error-free shell script!