I use Vim 7.4.576 on debian8. I don't grasp the concept of deleting words backwards.

Here is some text. Cursor position is on "that" (the pipe symbol)

this is a new text on th|at line.

How can I delete the previous words, so as a result the sentence will look like this:

this is a line

Is this the best solution? b4dw

......or is there a shorter way, so that i can skip the first b?

thanks in advance.

  • Did you mean 4b4dw to get that result?
    – Philippos
    May 12, 2017 at 6:04

2 Answers 2


You can use b as a motion for the delete instead of the w to delete backwards.


See :help {motion} for more info.

  • okay...b deletes the word before the cursor, and w also the word in the cursor. so you have to count correctly.
    – rtl33
    May 11, 2017 at 23:19
  • 1
    Instead of counting, you can also go with w, then db and repeat that with . (dot) operator (only db will be repeated). Maybe it's more keystrokes, but it may be faster than stopping and counting how many words to delete, plus if you want to delete 4 words, and later decide that one more needs to be deleted, then it's just one more . to press, and if you miscount, than it's just u to press, and only one word deletion will undone.
    – grodzik
    May 12, 2017 at 7:32

You can also go to insert mode and type ctrl + wwww. Not sure if it will work with gvim. Useful if you are already in insert mode

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