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The ; movement is supposed to repeat t, T, f, and F movements. For f and F this works fine as the cursor is placed on the character. However, pressing ; after t or T does not work as VIM finds the same character again and again (i.e., the cursor will not continue to move).

Is there a workaround for this? Might it be considered a VIM bug even though technically it is correct?

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The workaround is to do 2; I'm not sure this behavior can be considered a bug, though, but it should be more carefully documented. – romainl Jul 11 '12 at 19:51
you should definitely have a look at easymotion plugin - it changed my ouse of f,F,t,T completely – epsilonhalbe Jul 12 '12 at 9:08
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As I recall this was a bug that has now been fixed.

It seems fixed in vim version 7.3.584

What version of vim are you using?


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Thank you, I'm still on 7.3.154. It is great to know that this is fixed! How did you find that? I cannot find the VIM bugtracker. – dotancohen Jul 12 '12 at 5:43
There isn't a bug tracker, but you can find descriptions of patches in It looks like it was fixed at 7.3.235: '";" gets stuck on a "t" command, it's not useful'. – garyjohn Jul 12 '12 at 6:36
Thanks. I did find that page but I cannot get past the first 200 bytes or so, the page hangs. – dotancohen Jul 12 '12 at 12:45
That link was ftp, try this http link: – broomdodger Jul 12 '12 at 15:30

That behavior is controlled by the ; flag of 'cpoptions'. Execute

:verbose set cpo?

to see how yours are set.

This is a vi-compatibility issue. If your Vim is configured to be vi-compatible, the ; will be included in 'cpoptions' and you will get the behavior you observe. See

:help 'cpoptions'
:help cpo-;
:help 'compatible'

The solution to your problem depends on how you got Vim into this vi-compatible state. One usually has to go to extra effort to do that, such as starting Vim as "vim -u NONE", with -C or with no .vimrc file in your home directory.


This was a problem that was fixed in Vim 7.3.235 with the addition of the ; flag to 'cpoptions'. In earlier versions, Vim always behaves as described in dotancohen's question.

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I don't see a mention of ; in :h 'cpoptions' or :h 'compatible' and :set cpo? returns aABceFs. None of these letters seem to be related to tTfF or ;,. – romainl Jul 11 '12 at 22:14
It's at the bottom of the list of flags under ":help 'cpoptions'". See ":help cpo-;". I'll add that to my answer. The value of 'cpo' that you are seeing is the default when Vim is started in 'nocompatible' mode, which is the usual case. See the very first line of ":help 'cpoptions'". If you start Vim in vi mode (i.e., 'compatible'), for example by staring it as "vim -u NONE", then 'cpo' will contain all the option flags including ; and you will get the vi-compatible behavior of ;. – garyjohn Jul 11 '12 at 23:09
Well, my Vim version is 7.3.35 and I don't see ; at all in the help. Furthermore, Vim spits an E539 when I do :set cpo+=; whether I'm in compatible mode or not. This is probably a version problem. – romainl Jul 12 '12 at 5:58

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