When variables are used they are referred to with the $ symbol in front of them. There are several useful variables available in the shell program. Here are a few:
$$ = The PID number of the process executing the shell.
$? = Exit status variable.
$0 = The name of the command you used to call a program.
$1 = The first argument on the command line.
$2 = The second argument on the command line.
$n = The nth argument on the command line.
$* = All the arguments on the command line.
$# The number of command line arguments.
The “shift” command can be used to shift command line arguments to the left, ie $1 becomes the value of $2, $3 shifts into $2, etc. The command, “shift 2” will shift 2 places meaning the new value of $1 will be the old value of $3 and so forth.