I'm trying to use vimlsp server to help me write VimL, but it is prevented for me due to a parse problem with a literal carriage return (^M) char inside this code:

function! ChompCtrlM(string)
    return substitute(a:string, '^M$', '', '')

It turns out I'm not actually even using this, so I'm able to dodge the bullet, but is there a hex escape string literal syntax for VimL? Google yielded nothing.

  • It's the actual control character? I don't think Vim should barf on that. It's common to use these (entered with ctrl-V then ctrl-M). Or is it supposed to be three character regex? ^ then M then $??? ;)
    – B Layer
    Nov 9, 2020 at 1:29
  • Yeah, it's the literal control char. It's in my vimrc, ergo vim (neither nvim) barf on it, but vim-lsp certainly doesn't know what to do about it, and to the extent that it halts parsing and effectively bricks it.
    – Steven Lu
    Nov 9, 2020 at 2:09
  • 1
    It might just be ok if I were to write it as "\r"?
    – Steven Lu
    Nov 9, 2020 at 2:10

1 Answer 1


You can normally use double quoted strings for this purpose. They accept a range of backslash escape sequences to produce special characters without having to input the special character literals into your buffer.

The character that shows as ^M is the carriage return and you can enter it as "\r". You can also use key names in double quoted backspace sequences. The key notation for carriage return is <CR>, so you can produce it in a string with "\<CR>". Both "\r" and "\<CR>" are equivalent and produce the same string.

See :help expr-quote for a full list of backslash escape sequences that are recognized in a double quoted string.

In your specific case, you could rewrite your function as:

function! ChompCtrlM(string)
    return substitute(a:string, "\r$", '', '')

This will hopefully avoid the conflict with vimlsp that you found with the special character literal.

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