Learn to speak vim – verbs, nouns, and modifiers!
Posted 16 December 2011 @ 12pm in vim
Using vim is like talking to your editor in ‘verb modifier object’ sentences, turned into acronyms
- learn some verbs: v (visual), c (change), d (delete), y (yank/copy). these are the most important. there are others
- learn some modifiers: i (inside), a (around), t (till..finds a character), f (find..like till except including the char), / (search..find a string/regex)
- learn some text objects: w (word), s (sentence) p (paragraph) b (block/parentheses), t (tag, works for html/xml) there are others
To move efficiently in vim, don’t try to do anything by pressing keys many times, instead speak to the editor in sentences
- delete the current word: diw (delete inside word)
- change current sentence: cis (change inside sentence)
- change a string inside quotes: ci” (change inside quote)
- change until next occurrence of ‘foo’: c/foo (change search foo)
- change everything from here to the letter X: ctX
- visually select this paragraph: vap (visual around paragraph)
If you understand the verbs and objects you’re dealing with, you will soon realize that adding a new plugin and learning a new verb or noun exponentially increases your productivity, as you can now apply it in all the sentences you already know. It’s just like learning a language.
Let’s add some new text object plugins!
- install surround.vim: vim-surround- you get a new noun, the ‘surround’ (s or S)
- visually select a word and surround it with quotes: viwS”
- change surround from single quote to double quote: cs’”
- install vim-textobj-rubyblock – you get a new noun, the ‘ruby block’ (r)
- delete current ruby block: dir (delete inside ruby block)
- visually select a ruby function: var (visual around ruby block)
- visually select the innards of a function: vir (visual inside ruby block)
- install tComment – new verb: gc (go comment)
- comment the current ruby method: gcar (go comment around ruby)
Now go out and learn a new verb or noun every day!
Love this article? Here are some more you might like :)
- The cleanest vimrc you’ll ever see
- Stop using colon commands in vim
- Navigating files in vertical splits
- How to change vim syntax colors that are annoying you
- 5 minutes a day for exponential productivity
Want an exceptionally curated collection of vim plugins and shortcuts?
Check out an early beta preview of my fully modularized vim/dotfile setup called YADR (Yet Another Dotfile Repo) which includes text object plugins for ruby blocks(r), indents(i), dates(da/df), function arguments(a), and ruby symbols(:)