I'm programming Bash scripts using Vim in Ubuntu 16.04 (on Windows Subsystem for Linux).

The filename ends in .sh and the first line of the file is


When I wrote this command

rm -rf /tmp/*

The "word" -rf is shown in red (I use underlying tildes to point it out). I guess it's because Vim detected that -rm is a dangerous option when supplied to rm.

Later I wrote this:

tmpDir=$(mktemp "tmp-XXXXXX")

and Vim confusingly marked mktemp as red.


Why is that? Can I stop Vim from marking this very word as red?

1 Answer 1


First, -rf is shown in red because it is recognized as an option, and red is the default color for the shOption syntax group.

mktemp is colored red because it is recognized as a shCommandSub. Bash commands will typically be colored differently here. You should notice that most things written in $(...) will be colored red, except strings, bash commands, and probably some more things.

You can see the syntax group(s) of the word under the cursor with this:

:echo reverse(map(synstack(line('.'), col('.')), 'synIDattr(v:val, "name")'))

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