How to Fix cd: too many arguments Error in Terminal: A Step-by-Step Guide

cd - too many arguments terminal error
Error Example:
% cd ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 3
cd: too many arguments

"cd: too many arguments" error occurs when you are trying to make use of the cd - change directory command to change your current working directory in the terminal or the command line.

Why this error

As the error says you are providing too many arguments to the command, while it excepts only one.

To know more about the syntax of this error let's take a look at its man page.

cd [-L|-P] [directory]

In the above example where our cd command failed we have provided

% cd ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 3

So definitely the issue is that we have added spaces in the directory path that is treated as a next argument!

Possible Fixes: Step-by-Step

Fix 1: Surround the path with double quotes

% cd "~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 3"

Fix 2: Make use of backslashes to escape special characters

You may also get this error if the directory name has special characters like braces.

# cd My Dir (Important)
bash: syntax error near unexpected token `('

In such a case you can escape the special characters with backslashes

# cd My\ Dir\ \(Important\)/

Fix 3: Make use of tab completion

This is something that is highly recommended, while navigating to a directory using the cd command, always write some text pertaining to a directory and press the tab to autocomplete. It will automatically escape special characters for you!

Example as gif demonstration.
cd auto completion using tab

Facing issues? Have Questions? Post them here! I am happy to answer!

Author Info:

Rakesh (He/Him) has over 14+ years of experience in Web and Application development. He is the author of insightful How-To articles for Code2care.

Follow him on: X

You can also reach out to him via e-mail:

Copyright © Code2care 2024 | Privacy Policy | About Us | Contact Us | Sitemap