Dear fellow Developers,
I would like to quote variables having @ inside like [email protected], but not starting with @ like @var1, @var2.
Does Vi/Vim/Neovim have any option to inspect the matched pattern and create a pre- and postfix to [email protected]: "[email protected]" ?
:%s/ [a-zA-Z0-9]+@[a-zA-Z0-9]* / \"*\" /
does not work due to \"*\".

If Vi/Vim/Neovim has no such feature, what tools would you recommend for portability? I know C++ has a feature to inspect the matched regex as a string for manipulation, but I would like to have a more pluggable solution for vim.

1 Answer 1


Try using \0 to insert the contents of the match in the substitution:


Note that, given that you gave an example of an email address, I added . to your character classes so that the expression will match these, but it won't only match email addresses. e.g. It would match a@a.

I also changed the white spaces into start/end word atoms: \<, \> so that it will successfully match email addresses abutting punctuation, and added a g flag so that more than one match can be found on each line.

  • Ive always used & because it’s easier to type than \0—are the functionally equivalent (ie worth suggesting as an alternative in the answer)? Or is there a subtle difference (and i should stop using &)?
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 0:58
  • @D.BenKnoble From a short glimpse at the source I would say '&' and '\0' are the equivalent.
    – Ralf
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 12:09
  • @D.BenKnoble The two are equivalent. I didn't mention & in my answer because I don't think it really adds much benefit to know two different ways of doing it, and it makes the answer more complicated. I personally use \0 because a). I learned it first b). I like the relation to \1 et al. and the similarity with awk, and c). as someone who doesn't type "correctly" it's not any harder to type than &. (In fact, it's almost identical, but slightly easier because it's not a chord) ;)
    – Rich
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 13:03

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