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I'm looking for a way to change the behaviour of the % key. I know by default it will move the cursor to the corresponding parenthesis or brace, but I'm wondering if I can have it jump to the nearest similar character in the event I use it while on a non-bracket char. i.e.

    Lam a -> k $ VClosure (\v k' -> eval (v:env) a k')
                                    ^

(where ^ is the cursor position) should move the cursor to the left parenthesis a couple chars to the right, after which the normal behaviour applies.

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Make use of a standard "matchit" plugin which provides [% and ]% commands.

To enable "matchit" simply add packadd! matchit to your vimrc (or execute packadd matchit in your current Vim session).

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