[R] Can you recover default argument values of a function?

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at gmail.com
Wed Dec 26 23:21:46 CET 2007

If the default value is a constant such as in

f <- function(x = 1) x

then formals(f)[[1]] will give it to you but it could be an expression
referring to other variables (other arguments, other variables in
the function, free variables) such as

f <- function(x = u, u) x


f <- function(x = u+v+w, u) { v <- u+1; x }

in which case you would get an object of class
"name" in the first case or "call" in the second.

On Dec 26, 2007 4:42 PM, Talbot Katz <topkatz at msn.com> wrote:
> Hi.
> Maybe this is a stupid question.  If so, I apologize, but here goes.  Suppose I have a function f1(x,...) that calls a function f2(y1,y2,...,yn) in the following way: if x satisfies a certain condition, then I want to call f2(x,y2,...,yn); otherwise I want to use the default value of y1, if there is one.  I could do something like the following:
> v <- ifelse ( is.null(x), f2( , y2,..., yn), f2( x, y2,..., yn) )
> but I'm doing this in a loop (where the y2,...,yn variables may change), and I'd prefer not to execute the ifelse statement each time, so I'd like an initial pre-loop ifelse such as the following:
> y0 <- ifelse ( is.null(x), default(y1), x )
> where default(y1) is the default value of the y1 argument of f2.  Then, inside the loop I'd have
> v <- f2( y0, y2,..., yn )
> Is there any mechanism that tells me how many arguments a function has, and the default values of each one, if there are default values?
> Thanks!
> --  TMK  --212-460-5430 home917-656-5351 cell
>        [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
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