[R] question about if else

Don MacQueen macq at llnl.gov
Fri Feb 27 20:12:47 CET 2004

ifelse() has three arguments, named 'test', 'yes', and 'no'.

In both of your two examples, you gave it a test argument of length equal to 1.
That is, both
are expressions which when evaluated have length equal to 1.

Therefore, the ifelse() function wants to return an object of length 
1. So, it wants to return the first element of either the 'yes' 
argument, or the 'no' argument, depending on whether test is true or 
false. But c() has length zero, there is no first element available 
to return. So you get an error message.


At 12:12 PM -0600 2/27/04, Svetlana Eden wrote:
>Today is a good day for asking question, I guess.
>>  c()
>>  length(c())==0
>[1] TRUE
>  > r = ifelse(length(c())!=0, c(), c(1,2))  ### OK
>>  r = c()                                  ### OK
>>  r = ifelse(length(c())==0, c(), c(1,2))  ### why this is not OK (given
>>  the previous two)?      
>Error in "[<-"(`*tmp*`, test, value = rep(yes, length =
>length(ans))[test]) :
>         incompatible types
>>  c() == NULL
>>  r = ifelse(c()==NULL, c(), c(1,2))       ### why this line does not
>>  r                                        ### result in error -
>logical(0)                                 ### 'c()==NULL' is not TRUE
>and not FALSE ?
>Svetlana Eden        Biostatistician II            School of Medicine
>                      Department of Biostatistics   Vanderbilt University
>R-help at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
>PLEASE do read the posting guide! http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html

Don MacQueen
Environmental Protection Department
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, CA, USA

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