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7.4.8 The next Statement

The next statement forces awk to immediately stop processing the current record and go on to the next record. This means that no further rules are executed for the current record, and the rest of the current rule’s action isn’t executed.

Contrast this with the effect of the getline function (see Getline). That also causes awk to read the next record immediately, but it does not alter the flow of control in any way (i.e., the rest of the current action executes with a new input record).

At the highest level, awk program execution is a loop that reads an input record and then tests each rule’s pattern against it. If you think of this loop as a for statement whose body contains the rules, then the next statement is analogous to a continue statement. It skips to the end of the body of this implicit loop and executes the increment (which reads another record).

For example, suppose an awk program works only on records with four fields, and it shouldn’t fail when given bad input. To avoid complicating the rest of the program, write a “weed out” rule near the beginning, in the following manner:

NF != 4 {
  err = sprintf("%s:%d: skipped: NF != 4\n", FILENAME, FNR)
  print err > "/dev/stderr"
  next
}

Because of the next statement, the program’s subsequent rules won’t see the bad record. The error message is redirected to the standard error output stream, as error messages should be. For more detail see Special Files.

If the next statement causes the end of the input to be reached, then the code in any END rules is executed. See BEGIN/END.

The next statement is not allowed inside BEGINFILE and ENDFILE rules. See BEGINFILE/ENDFILE.

According to the POSIX standard, the behavior is undefined if the next statement is used in a BEGIN or END rule. gawk treats it as a syntax error. Although POSIX permits it, some other awk implementations don’t allow the next statement inside function bodies (see User-defined). Just as with any other next statement, a next statement inside a function body reads the next record and starts processing it with the first rule in the program.


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