Each program carries a usage message. If you enter the program name without any arguments, the program will write the complete usage message to standard error (your screen, unless you redirect it). This message explains in detail what all the valid arguments are. If you enter the program name followed by a hyphen (-) only you will get a shorter version which only shows the command line syntax and no detailed explanations. If you incorrectly specify an option or omit a required option, the program will produce syntax errors and explain what the correct syntax for these options should be. If an error occurs during the running of a program, the program will in some cases recognize this and give you an error message. Usually this will also terminate the run. The error messages generally begin with the name of the program in which the error occurred; if you have several programs piped together this tells you where the trouble is.