I would like an object method call to be syntax highlighted in Vim. For instance, in an expression that contains person.getName(), I would like to match getName and give it some syntax highlighting.

I have tried quite a number of patterns and at the moment, this is what I have in my experimental syntax file;

" :set iskeyword+=.
syntax match myMatch "\v\.\zs\w+\ze\(" 
highlight link myMatch Function

It is not highlighting unless I comment in the first line above or issue :set iskeyword+=. manually and then try editing the file.

How can I make the highlighting successful without having to set . as part of iskeyword??

UPDATE: I have Pathogen and I have the file with the contents above in ~/.vim/bundle/vim-javascript-syn/syntax/javascript.vim

  • Please extend you question and name the language/filetype you work with.
    – Ralf
    Mar 17, 2019 at 12:23
  • @Ralf, please check some updated details in the question. Mar 17, 2019 at 12:29
  • 1) The file is javascript.vim, not javascript.js, or? 2) put the two lines in the file ~/.vim/after/syntax/javascript.vim and test again. (see :help after-directory)
    – Ralf
    Mar 17, 2019 at 12:47
  • It's actually .vim. My mistake. It's not .js. Updated question. @Ralf Mar 17, 2019 at 15:20

2 Answers 2


Have you tried to do it on an empty noname buffer with vim -u NONE

I have copied (only changed function to title hl group) your lines and executed them, as you can see on a screenshot, it works without . in iskeyword:

enter image description here


To execute those commands type/copy them to :.

I use my own plugin to eval vimscript :)


I can't reproduce your problem. But here is what I would do:

Create the file ~/.vim/after/syntax/javascript.vim and add you configuration to it:

syntax match myMatch "\v\.\zs\w+\ze\("
highlight link myMatch Function

This syntax file it then an extension to the default javascript syntax file of Vim.

Vim first loads the default syntax file syntax/javascript.vim from the runtimepath. After that it looks for after/syntax/javascript.vim (also via runtimepath). If found, this is loaded also.

See :help mysyntaxfile-add, :help after-directory and :help runtimepath.

To display you current runtimepath execute:

set runtimepath?

PS: If you really want to do that via Pathogen, you also could create the file as ~/.vim/bundle/vim-javascript-syn/after/syntax/javascript.vim.

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