Every time I try to use a sudo or ssh command, it returns with this error:

when:~ jackson1442$ sudo [insert any command here]
-bash: sudo: command not found

I was messing with Python installs, and am not sure what I did to cause this. How can I permanently fix this?

macOS Sierra 10.12.4 16E195
MacBook Pro 2016
13" Touchbar

EDIT: here's the path:

when:~ jackson1442$ echo $PATH

Here is .bash_profile

# Setting PATH for Python 2.7
# The original version is saved in .bash_profile.pysave
export PATH

# Setting PATH for Python 3.6
# The original version is saved in .bash_profile.pysave
export PATH

# Setting PATH for Python 3.5
# The original version is saved in .bash_profile.pysave
export PATH
export PATH=’/usr/local/bin:��
  • @klanomath sorry about the delay Here it is: when:~ jackson1442$ echo $PATH ’/usr/local/bin:?? May 2, 2017 at 2:52
  • After commenting out or removing the last line and sourcing your profile the PATH should be at least .../3.5/bin:.../3.6/bin:/.../2.7bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin now (I omitted each /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/ here).
    – klanomath
    May 2, 2017 at 3:50
  • @klanomath affirmative. It works! Not sure how that one at the end got there... May 2, 2017 at 4:12
  • This is the culprit: export PATH=’/usr/local/bin:�� Dec 13, 2020 at 9:28

3 Answers 3


Your PATH is hosed!

First check your .bash_profile file with:

/usr/bin/nano ~/.bash_profile

Prepend lines containing something like export PATH="/... " with a # to comment them out. Save the file with ctrlO and exit nano with ctrlX

Then check /etc/paths with: /bin/cat /etc/paths.

It should look like this:


You can edit the file with /usr/bin/sudo /usr/bin/nano /etc/paths if required.

If everything is fine enter source ~/.bash_profile or close the Terminal window and open a new one.

Now sudo should work again. Then check all #export PATH=... lines in your .bash_profile for potential errors. You may add them to your question to get help here.

  • There is nothing in .bash.profile May 2, 2017 at 3:35
  • Thanks, my bad. I just had to quit terminal after commenting out that last funky line. May 2, 2017 at 3:42
  • Thanks between using brew and conda the bash_profile had python PATH's all over the place. My work wasn't affected until we started to use ansible that insisted on using sudo. Though this did the trick. Sep 1, 2017 at 22:34

Magic Answer

export PATH="/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/sbin"
  • 2
    This'll restore basic function to the current shell, but leaves out any additions to the standard PATH (e.g. the asker's additional versions of python), and it's not a permanent fix (that requires debugging the shell init files to find what's causing the problem). Dec 13, 2020 at 6:31
  • Thanks, this resolved the issue for me immediately, but only till that particular terminal was open Mar 10, 2022 at 10:03

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.locate.plist

  • 3
    If the OP states: sudo [insert any command here] -bash: sudo: command not found why should another command starting with sudo ... suddenly help/work?
    – klanomath
    May 2, 2017 at 4:17

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