I want to make a Python ftplugin (but other filetypes will also have this option) where, if the previous line has a comment that starts with #, the next line can be commented via <Shift><CR>, an insert-mode mapping (inoremap). How can I code Vimscript so that it checks whether the current line is commented, and subsequently allows the inoremap to make a new line commented?

And please don't recommend a third-party plugin like NERD Commenter (which, btw, I respect very much), I want something as close to vanilla-Vim as possible for this.

  • I don't get the goal of this mapping. If you want to be able to use <CR> to add a line with no comment and <Shift-CR> to add a comment, why do you need it to be conditional on whether the current line has a comment? If you don't want a comment added when you're not currently on a commented line, why would you pressing <Shift-CR> in that case? Am I misunderstanding the behaviour of the mapping you want to create?
    – Rich
    Feb 22, 2019 at 16:11
  • Oh...shoot you're right. I didn't think of that before lol
    – Paul Kim
    Feb 23, 2019 at 2:41

1 Answer 1


To check if the current line is commented, you can use

:echo synIDattr(synIDtrans(synID(line("."), col("$")-1, 1)), "name")

This checks, if the current line ends with a comment syntax item.

You can then do something like this:

inoremap <expr><silent> <f6> synIDattr(synID(line('.')-1, strlen(getline(line('.')-1)), 1),'name')=~?'comment'?'#':' '

this maps the F6 key to check if the syntax group from the end of the previous line matches comment and if so returns the comment character #, else it will simply return a Space.

  • Checking the syntax instead of the content is super clever!
    – Rich
    Feb 22, 2019 at 16:12
  • One could probably even lean on 'commentstring' (which i think tpope’s commentary does).
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Feb 22, 2019 at 20:35
  • Checking the syntax was much more helpful than other things I've tried! Thanks for the help.
    – Paul Kim
    Feb 23, 2019 at 2:41

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