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If you just try rm -i, the file name will be interpreted as a command line switch. Many commands let you use a double hyphen '--' to say 'No more switches, the rest are file names'.
Incidentally having a file named '-i' in a directory where you use rm * will cause rm to act as if you specified '-i' on the command line.
vim -- -v
touch -- -t
cat -- -c
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