kill-whole-line is quite useful as it completely deletes both content and whitespace unlike kill-line which only deletes contents in line. But in lisp-mode, it is necessary to keep parens in tact and kill-whole-line fails there.


If point is in a buffer like this

|(setq foo "bar")
(setq foo1 "bar1")

if i kill line, it should become

|(setq foo1 "bar1")

but not

(setq foo1 "bar1")

On the other hand, if point is in a buffer like this

(defun foo ()
 |(message "foo"))

if i kill line, it should become

(defun foo ()

How can i kill whole line and keep parens intact?

  • Did you try paredit? I'm not using it, but I know it has lots of lisp-specific editing tricks. I also don't think that deleting a line can be implemented very usefully--it's better to delete expressions rather than lines.
    – wvxvw
    Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 23:59
  • @Drew updated with an example. Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 5:00
  • @wvxvw i want to delete expression only, but i want to cleanup white space along with them Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 5:04
  • 3
    Paredit would certainly do it, but my normal editing practice is C-M-k then M-SPC or M-/ depending on a situation.
    – wvxvw
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 8:35
  • 1
    @kaushalmodi Sorry, wrong slash, it should be M-\ - delete-horizontal-space.
    – wvxvw
    Commented Sep 21, 2015 at 5:22

1 Answer 1


As @wvxvw and @Drew implied in the comments, I too believe that kill-sexp (bound by default to C-M-k) is a more appropriate command to use than kill-whole-line for the use cases in your examples.

For your first example, I would either use

  • C-M-k followed by C-k (to delete the empty line), or
  • kill-whole-line (bound to a convenient key if I use it too often)

That would do the below,

▮(setq foo "bar")        -- C-M-k, C-k -->   (setq foo1 "bar1") 
(setq foo1 "bar1")

For your second example, just C-M-k would suffice.

(defun foo ()            -- C-M-k -->        (defun foo ()  
 ▮(message "foo"))                           ▮)  

What I like about C-M-k is that it always "does what I mean" in situations like this,

(defun foo ()            -- C-M-k -->        (defun foo ()
 ▮                                           ▮) 
  ;; some comment 1  
  ;; some comment 2
  (message "foo"))

Note that just that one single command removed the extra new line + comments before the sexp.

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