I'm trying to use spell but for some reason it doesn't work. Here's what I've tried:

  • :setlocal spell spelllang=en_us.
  • :set spell spelllang=en_us.
  • Using a simple text file instead of the .md file I was trying to spell check. Simple file
  • Reverting back to the default theme using :colo default.


call plug#begin()
Plug 'mattn/emmet-vim'
Plug 'wordijp/vim-react-templates'
Plug 'preservim/nerdtree'
Plug 'jiangmiao/auto-pairs'
Plug 'prettier/vim-prettier', { 'do': 'yarn install' }
Plug 'MarcWeber/vim-addon-mw-utils'
Plug 'tomtom/tlib_vim'
Plug 'garbas/vim-snipmate'
Plug 'rakr/vim-one'
Plug 'vim-syntastic/syntastic'
Plug 'tpope/vim-commentary'
Plug 'tpope/vim-surround'
Plug 'leafgarland/typescript-vim'
Plug 'dpelle/vim-LanguageTool'
Plug 'junegunn/vim-emoji'
Plug 'https://gitlab.com/gi1242/vim-emoji-ab.git'
call plug#end()

set path+=**
set shiftwidth=2
set tabstop=2
set expandtab
set autoindent
set smartindent
set nu
set rnu
set showcmd
set wildmenu
set wildmode=list:full
set so=999
set termguicolors
set wildignore+=**/node_modules/**
set shortmess-=S " https://stackoverflow.com/a/58886067/
set background=dark
set completefunc=emoji#complete

au BufWritePre * %s/\s\+$//e
au FileType css set omnifunc=csscomplete#CompleteCSS
au BufRead,BufNewFile *.rt set filetype=reacttemplate
au FileType markdown runtime macros/emoji-ab.vim

colorscheme one

map <C-n> :NERDTreeToggle<CR>

let g:languagetool_jar='/opt/LanguageTool-5.1/languagetool-commandline.jar'

vi --version

VIM - Vi IMproved 8.0 (2016 Sep 12, compiled Oct 13 2020 15:49:09)
Included patches: 1-1453
Modified by pkg-vim-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org
Compiled by pkg-vim-maintainers@lists.alioth.debian.org
Huge version with GTK3 GUI.  Features included (+) or not (-):
+acl               +farsi             +mouse_sgr         -tag_any_white
+arabic            +file_in_path      -mouse_sysmouse    +tcl
+autocmd           +find_in_path      +mouse_urxvt       +termguicolors
-autoservername    +float             +mouse_xterm       +terminal
+balloon_eval      +folding           +multi_byte        +terminfo
+balloon_eval_term -footer            +multi_lang        +termresponse
+browse            +fork()            -mzscheme          +textobjects
++builtin_terms    +gettext           +netbeans_intg     +timers
+byte_offset       -hangul_input      +num64             +title
+channel           +iconv             +packages          +toolbar
+cindent           +insert_expand     +path_extra        +user_commands
+clientserver      +job               +perl              +vertsplit
+clipboard         +jumplist          +persistent_undo   +virtualedit
+cmdline_compl     +keymap            +postscript        +visual
+cmdline_hist      +lambda            +printer           +visualextra
+cmdline_info      +langmap           +profile           +viminfo
+comments          +libcall           -python            +vreplace
+conceal           +linebreak         +python3           +wildignore
+cryptv            +lispindent        +quickfix          +wildmenu
+cscope            +listcmds          +reltime           +windows
+cursorbind        +localmap          +rightleft         +writebackup
+cursorshape       +lua               -ruby              +X11
+dialog_con_gui    +menu              +scrollbind        -xfontset
+diff              +mksession         +signs             +xim
+digraphs          +modify_fname      +smartindent       +xpm
+dnd               +mouse             +startuptime       +xsmp_interact
-ebcdic            +mouseshape        +statusline        +xterm_clipboard
+emacs_tags        +mouse_dec         -sun_workshop      -xterm_save
+eval              +mouse_gpm         +syntax            
+ex_extra          -mouse_jsbterm     +tag_binary        
+extra_search      +mouse_netterm     +tag_old_static    
   system vimrc file: "$VIM/vimrc"
     user vimrc file: "$HOME/.vimrc"
 2nd user vimrc file: "~/.vim/vimrc"
      user exrc file: "$HOME/.exrc"
  system gvimrc file: "$VIM/gvimrc"
    user gvimrc file: "$HOME/.gvimrc"
2nd user gvimrc file: "~/.vim/gvimrc"
       defaults file: "$VIMRUNTIME/defaults.vim"
    system menu file: "$VIMRUNTIME/menu.vim"
  fall-back for $VIM: "/usr/share/vim"
Compilation: gcc -c -I. -Iproto -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -DFEAT_GUI_GTK  -pthread -I/usr/include/gtk-3.0 -I/usr/include/at-spi2-atk/2.0 -I/usr/include/at-spi-2.0 -I/usr/include/dbus-1.0 -I/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/dbus-1.0/include -I/usr/include/gtk-3.0 -I/usr/include/gio-unix-2.0/ -I/usr/include/cairo -I/usr/include/pango-1.0 -I/usr/include/harfbuzz -I/usr/include/pango-1.0 -I/usr/include/atk-1.0 -I/usr/include/cairo -I/usr/include/pixman-1 -I/usr/include/freetype2 -I/usr/include/libpng16 -I/usr/include/freetype2 -I/usr/include/libpng16 -I/usr/include/gdk-pixbuf-2.0 -I/usr/include/libpng16 -I/usr/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/glib-2.0/include -Wdate-time  -g -O2 -fdebug-prefix-map=/build/vim-EfP9JP/vim-8.0.1453=. -fstack-protector-strong -Wformat -Werror=format-security -U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=1       
Linking: gcc   -Wl,-E  -Wl,-Bsymbolic-functions -Wl,-z,relro -Wl,-z,now -Wl,--as-needed -o vim   -lgtk-3 -lgdk-3 -lpangocairo-1.0 -lpango-1.0 -latk-1.0 -lcairo-gobject -lcairo -lgdk_pixbuf-2.0 -lgio-2.0 -lgobject-2.0 -lglib-2.0 -lSM -lICE -lXpm -lXt -lX11 -lXdmcp -lSM -lICE  -lm -ltinfo -lnsl  -lselinux  -lacl -lattr -lgpm -ldl  -L/usr/lib -llua5.2 -Wl,-E  -fstack-protector-strong -L/usr/local/lib  -L/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/perl/5.26/CORE -lperl -ldl -lm -lpthread -lcrypt  -L/usr/lib/python3.6/config-3.6m-x86_64-linux-gnu -lpython3.6m -lpthread -ldl -lutil -lm -L/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu -ltcl8.6 -ldl -lz -lpthread -lm     

Some Environmental Specs

OS: Linux Mint 19.1 Tessa x86_64
Shell: bash 4.4.20
DE: Cinnamon 4.0.10
Terminal: gnome-terminal
  • 3
    Might be helpful to narrow it down: How to debug my vimrc
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Nov 22, 2020 at 16:38
  • 1
    Note that in your example there don't seem to be any misspelled words ("bod" is a valid English word; mostly English slang for "body"). Nov 23, 2020 at 7:41

1 Answer 1


Thanks to @D. Ben Knoble's comment I was able to see the source of the issue:

Warning: Cannot find word list "eng.utf-8.spl" or "eng.ascii.spl"

To solve the problem:

  1. I looked for the files locally
locate en.utf-8

which gave me these results:

  1. Then copied the .spl file to ~/.vim/spell as suggested here.
cp /usr/share/vim/vim80/spell/en.utf-8.spl ~/.vim/spell

I still can't see the errors highlighted when I load the .vimrc (though the errors are findable using ]s/[s), but that's another issue.

  • I know this is old but the likely reason you can't see the highlighted misspelt words is you don't have the proper highlight options. Try: :help on spelllocal, spellrare, spellcap and spellbad. And you might want to do it on spelllang (or spl) as well. Hope that helps even if late in the coming!
    – Pryftan
    Mar 24 at 9:58
  • Oh you might also be interested in: :help on mkspell and lang. As for why I found this I'm having a strange file where even on a file type that I specify to have spellcheck it doesn't work. Anyway I hope these comments help you (and anyone else) out in the future! Cheers and stay safe mate.
    – Pryftan
    Mar 24 at 10:07

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