I have the text:


my cursor is in the first line, and I want to yank the first 2 lines.

Usually I would do it by pressing Shift+v, selecting the second line by going down with j and yanking with y.

How can this be achieved without using visual mode?


yank is an operator like d and c, which means it works on all motions and text-objects (see the relevant help sections).

That means that yip, y), ygg, yib, y/pattern<CR>, yfc etc., all work (and with registers, too)! They can potentially be multiple lines.

In this case I would probably use yj (and not y2j) because yank will include the current line and the one we land on.

Note that some motions are not line-wise by default. You can use yV{motion} to force a line-wise yank.

  • What's the difference between a motion and a text-object - will you give an example? I would consider w, W, e, etc. all motions, since they move the cursor.
    – Shuzheng
    Oct 14 '20 at 9:31
  • @Shuzheng that’s correct. Motions move the cursor. Text objects are a bit harder to explain ; they’re like « targets »â€”you can select them in visual mode or operate on them with operators. See the help on text objects for more. There are a couple examples in the answer
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Oct 14 '20 at 11:58
  • So, would ib, ip, and a" be considered text objects? I've seen these in :h text-objects. I use these often with the d (delete) operator.
    – Shuzheng
    Oct 14 '20 at 12:10
  • @Shuzheng yes, those are text objects. y,c,g~, etc all work with them too (not just d!)
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Oct 14 '20 at 12:43

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