i want to substitute the text 'which apt' to $(which apt).


does substitute to $('which apt'). How can i leave those single quotes out on the substitution, so that just $(..) appears?



results in $('which apt)'. Although the regex should match any character between the two ', as i marked them as outside of the selection. i don't know if i did sth wrong?

  • Use \zs and \ze. See :help \zs. Feb 6, 2016 at 20:32
  • I'm certain that \& doesn't do what you think it does...although I don't know exactly what you think it does. :)
    – Wildcard
    Feb 9, 2016 at 5:46

1 Answer 1


Search part:

'            single quote
 \(.\{-}\)   any character — . —, as few as possible — \{-} —,
             captured for reuse in the replacement — \(...\) —
          '  single quote

Replacement part:

$(           replace the first quote
  \1         reuse the capture group
    )        replace the second quote
  • Huh, I thought when using {curly braces} you have to backslash escape both of them, e.g. /\(cat\)\{3\}/ to match catcatcat. Is \{-} a typo?
    – Wildcard
    Feb 9, 2016 at 5:39
  • Also: Thanks, I didn't know about the "minimal match" quantifier; I usually would just use :s/'\([^']*\)'/$(\1)/g
    – Wildcard
    Feb 9, 2016 at 5:40
  • 1
    No, only the first { needs to be escaped.
    – romainl
    Feb 9, 2016 at 6:12

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