Since recently my syntax highlighting for ft=sh (also syn=sh is set) is broken:

enter image description here

Why is that? How can I fix it?


I'm using Vim 9.0 with patches 1-1302.

I add here the code from the screenshot. The code does not matter much, though. Syntax highlighting is broken for all my bash scripts that I checked. It seems to work for a few lines, before it breaks down.

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# Here is a comment. In yellow.


if [ "${foo}" == "bar" ]; then
elif [ "${foo}" == "baz" ]; then

# Here is a comment. In green?

cd "$HOME"
mv x y
echo hello world

# Whatever I do, all is green.
  • 1
    I can reproduce your problem on Vim 9.0. It seems the problem is not on Vim 8.2. I suppose it deserve a big report in Vim. Feb 18, 2023 at 11:44
  • It would help if you could add the text of your script together with the screenshot. To reproduce the problem we gain a bit of time ;-) Feb 18, 2023 at 11:45
  • 1
    @VivianDeSmedt, I edited my post. Since you can reproduce the problem, would you suggest to open an issue on vim's github repository?
    – pfnuesel
    Feb 18, 2023 at 13:34
  • 1
    syntax_checkers/sh/sh.vim is part of ALE, which has nothing to do with syntax highlighting. Look for syntax/sh.vim instead, both in your own runtime and in the system one.
    – romainl
    Feb 18, 2023 at 14:00
  • 1
    I am guessing, this is the following issue, please try the linked workaround: github.com/vim/vim/issues/11937#issuecomment-1421116531 Feb 21, 2023 at 10:05

3 Answers 3


It is a known bug which is fixed in the author's source code, see author's reply.

It should appear sometime in the future in main vim runtime.

  • 1
    I just did a brew upgrade vim and it solved the problem. The author's reply above notes this is fixed in 9.0.1400
    – KC Baltz
    Apr 5, 2023 at 18:03
  • I installed the brew install vim which has version of vim 9.1.0100 still have issues with bash, my entire code looks in the same color :/
    – Ricky Levi
    Feb 26 at 12:02

Downgrade to 8.2 version of VIM because it's VIM9 bug (not ALE plugin bug):

mkdir ~/temp; 
git clone --branch v8.2.5172 https://github.com/vim/vim.git ~/temp/vim; 
cd ~/temp/vim;

make clean distclean
./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-python3interp=yes 
make -j4
# Install globally:
sudo make install
  • 2
    That is a drastic solution, most likely you just need to update the syntax script for sh files, see e.g. here: github.com/vim/vim/issues/11937#issuecomment-1421116531 Feb 21, 2023 at 10:04
  • Welcome vi.SE @VladSavitsky. Downgrading will loose all other enhancements of newer version won't it? Weird.
    – gildux
    Feb 21, 2023 at 10:09
  • 1
    For me it's more important to have working version of vim then to get enhancements of newer version so this is solution for cases like this. I have all I need in vim8 and do not loose anything with this downgrade. Feb 22, 2023 at 11:06

Upgrading vim didn't work for me ( version 9.1 mentioned in the comment above )

I ended up just updating the sh.vim file itself from the fix mentioned in

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/albertyw/dotfiles/e787d02d754883d02021811421906ce861a3b993/files/vim/syntax/sh.vim > ~/.vim/syntax/sh.vim

That worked for me

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