I would like to execute multiple deletions. The problem when a pattern is not found all deletions are cancelled. I used the e flag to tell vim the not founding a pattern is not an error, but it still does not work.

The command looks like the following:

:g/pat1/de | g/pat2/de | ... | g/patn/de
  • When there are too many patterns, you can put them in a file and do :%!grep -vf patternfile
    – balki
    Aug 15, 2023 at 18:36

1 Answer 1


Please take a careful look at the syntax of :global: there's a pattern, and a command. We also know from :help :bar that everything after the pattern is the command, including |. Lastly, the :delete command can be abbreviated at any point up to :d, so :de is just the regular delete command.

Thus, your command really means "on each line with pat1, do delete (nested global) on each line with pat2, do ….

At :help :global we see

When the command is used recursively, it only works on one line.

You have a few options:

  • Separate the commands. This can be done with :execute, like :execute 'global/pat1/delete' | execute … (abbr.: :exe 'g/pat1/d' | exe …). Or type each command individually, hitting enter. The former might require a :silent modifier somewhere to avoid "Patter not found."
  • Combine the patterns: :global/pat1\|pat2\|…/delete. If you can use \v, I recommend it (then the separator becomes | instead of \|, but pay attention to other changes in patN).

Lastly, you can chain substitutions (though again I would combine patterns here):

:%substitute/.*pat1.*//e | %substitute/.*pat2.*//e | …

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