Why does a RegExp with global flag give wrong results?

A RegExp object with the g flag keeps track of the lastIndex where a match occurred, so on subsequent matches it will start from the last used index, instead of 0. Take a look:

var query = 'Foo B';
var re = new RegExp(query, 'gi');
var result = [];
result.push(re.test('Foo Bar'));


result.push(re.test('Foo Bar'));

If you don’t want to manually reset lastIndex to 0 after every test, just remove the g flag.

Here’s the algorithm that the specs dictate (section


a regular expression match of string
against the regular expression and
returns an Array object containing the
results of the match, or null if the
string did not match The string
ToString(string) is searched for an
occurrence of the regular expression
pattern as follows:

  1. Let R be this RexExp object.
  2. Let S be the value of ToString(string).
  3. Let length be the length of S.
  4. Let lastIndex be the value of the lastIndex property on R.
  5. Let i be the value of ToInteger(lastIndex).
  6. If the global property is false, let i = 0.
  7. If i < 0 or i > length then set the lastIndex property of R to 0 and return null.
  8. Call [[Match]], giving it the arguments S and i. If [[Match]]
    returned failure, go to step 9;
    otherwise let r be its State result
    and go to step 10.
  9. Let i = i+1.
  10. Go to step 7.
  11. Let e be r’s endIndex value.
  12. If the global property is true, set the lastIndex property of R to e.
  13. Let n be the length of r’s captures array. (This is the same
    value as’s
  14. Return a new array with the following properties:
  • The index
    property is set to the position of the
    matched substring within the complete
    string S.
  • The input property is set
    to S.
  • The length property is set to
    n + 1.
  • The 0 property is set to the
    matched substring (i.e. the portion of
    S between offset i inclusive and
    offset e exclusive).
  • For each
    integer i such that i > 0 and i ≤ n,
    set the property named ToString(i) to
    the ith element of r’s captures array.

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