What is the difference between single and double quoted strings?

Is there a way to get a variable expanded inside a string, or do they always need to be joined like: 'Hello, ' . s:name . '!'

1 Answer 1


The only difference between single and double quoted string is related to backslash. To display special characters like newline, bells, tabs, etc, you need to use double-quotes -> "\n".

Within a single-quoted string, '\' is itself => '\n' is a two-characters string (a backslash + n). Within double quotes, you have to double it -> "\\", which makes them un-practical to define regexes.

Regarding string expansion, you have a few choices:

  • 'Hello, ' . s:name . '!'
  • join(['Hello, ', s:name, '!'], '') -- which we never use
  • printf('Hello %s!', s:name)
  • lh#fmt#printf('Hello %1!', s:name) -- from lh-vim-lib, when we don't want to know about types, and when we don't need to format fields, but when we want to use formats like: 'Hello %1. How are you doing %1 this %2'.
  • Is it possible to include ' inside a single-quoted string?
    – Tom Hale
    Sep 28, 2016 at 2:41
  • 3
    @TomHale. Yes it is. Double it. -> 'foo''bar', or use both kind of quotes: 'foo'."'".'bar' Sep 28, 2016 at 7:40

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