Define term lists to further customize styles.


Vocabularies allow you to maintain custom lists of terminology independent of your styles.

StylesPath = "..."

# Here's were we define the exceptions to use in *all*
# `BasedOnStyles`.
Vocab = Some-Name

# 'Vale' and 'MyStyle' automatically respects all
# custom exceptions.
# The built-in 'Vale' style is required for using
# `Vale.Terms`, `Vale.Avoid`, or `Vale.Spelling`.
BasedOnStyles = Vale, MyStyle

Each Vocab is a single folder (stored at <StylesPath>/Vocab/<name>/) consisting of two plain-text files—accept.txt and reject.txt—that contain one word, phrase, or regular expression per line.

The effects of using a custom Vocab are as follows:

  • Entries in accept.txt are added to every exception list in all styles listed in BasedOnStyles—meaning that you now only need to update your project’s vocabulary to customize third-party styles (rather than the styles themselves).

  • Entries in accept.txt are automatically added to a substitution rule (Vale.Terms), ensuring that any occurrences of these words or phrases exactly match their corresponding entry in accept.txt.

  • Entries in reject.txt are automatically added to an existence rule (Vale.Avoid) that will flag all occurrences as errors.

This means that your exceptions can be developed independent of a style, allowing you to use the same exceptions with multiple styles or switch styles without having to re-implement them.

Folder structure

Vocab entries are stored in <StylesPath>/Vocab/<name>/ and are then referenced by <name> in .vale.ini. For example, consider the following folder structure:

$ tree styles
│   ├───Blog
│   └───Marketing

Here, our StylesPath (/styles) contains two styles (MyStyle and MyOtherStyle) and two vocabularies (Blog and Marketing). You can then simply reference these entries by their folder name:

StylesPath = styles

Vocab = Blog

BasedOnStyles = Vale, MyStyle

File format

Both accept.txt and reject.txt are plain-text files that take one entry per line:


The entries are case-sensitive (except for rules extending spelling, as mentioned above) and may also be regular expressions.

Case sensitivity

An important factor in successfully implementing a custom Vocab is understanding how Vale handles case sensitivity.

While most spell-checking tools ignore case altogether, Vale’s Vocab files are case-aware by default. This means that, for example, a vocabulary consisting of


will enforce the exact use of “MongoDB”: “mongoDB,” “MongoDb,” etc., will all result in errors. There are two ways around this.

First, you can indicate that a given entry should be case-insensitive by providing an appropriate regular expression:


The entry, (?i)MongoDB, marks the entire pattern as case-insensitive while the second, [Oo]bservability, provides two acceptable options.

Second, you can disable Vale.Terms and just use Vale.Spelling:

BasedOnStyles = Vale

Vale.Terms = NO

This will provide a more traditional spell-checking experience.

Relation to ignore files

The functionality of vocabularies is similar to the existing concept of ignore files.

The major differences are that vocabularies apply to multiple extension points (rather than just spelling), support regular expressions, and have built-in rules associated with them (Vale.Terms and Vale.Avoid).

In general, this means that ignore files are for style creators while vocabularies are for style users:

  • If you’re developing or maintaining a style, you may still want to include a custom spelling rule—MyStyle.Spelling—that packages its own ignore files.

  • As a user of styles, vocabularies should be able to replace the use of ignore files completely.

For example, if you were using Vale.Spelling with a <StylesPath>/vocab.txt file prior to v2.3, you can simply copy the contents of vocab.txt into <StylesPath>/Vocab/<MyVocab>/accept.txt and it’ll work the same (you may also want to disable Vale.Terms and Vale.Avoid to replicate the exact experience).