While editing in vim you want to search and replace including a sub-string with an ampersand (&) – this doesn’t have an special regular expression meaning but given the input:
And the search/replace (changing “foo” to “bar”):
The result is:
That looks… unexpected? Well, at least, undesired!
What’s going on?
Reading up on vim’s substitute command, we find a section on sub-replace-special where we find:
magic nomagic action & \& replaced with the whole matched pattern \& & replaced with &
Where magic is enabled by default – so what’s happening is this:
On the right-hand side of the substitute (ie the output side) a non-escaped ampersand will be replace by the whole matched pattern, so the output suddenly makes sense (even though it’s still unwanted). Importantly note the ampersand on the left-hand-side is ok un-escaped as you would usually expect for a regular expression.
In this particular case it looks like a complete mess because of having multiple ampersands on the right-hand-side, but it now makes sense (where I’ve shown the whole matched pattern in the output in bold for the two ampersands in the output):
Getting it working…
Is simple as adding that escape – so adding the escapes
The result is now as desired and expected: