eregi help?

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God, I have read every comment in eregi and Google searched,
and I have tried so many different attempts...this is the closest I've
gotten to verify a variable contains only:
alphanumerics, spaces, underscore, hyphen, period, apostrophe

if(eregi("^[a-z0-9 _.-]+$", $value))
  return true;

Problem is, when I try to add anything else, like a comma or
apostrophe, it fails:

if(eregi("^[a-z0-9 _.-\'\,]+$", $value))

and I can't get it to make sure the first character only is

if(eregi("^([a-z0-9])[a-z0-9 _.-\'\,]+$", $value))

what am I missing? What am I doing wrong that I can simply add a comma
and apostrophe to the list of OK characters, and make sure only a num'
or letter is first? I've found A LOT of examples to verify e-mail
addresses...but all the + and brackets and whatnot confuse the heck out
of me, trying to interpret what does what in the order of expressions.

Thanks for any help.

Re: eregi help? wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

The hyphen is a meta character here, forming part of a character  
range.  To be taken literally it must go first or last in the class,  
or after the first endpoint in a range.


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