[R] Passing (Optional) Arguments

From: Jason Q. McClintic <jqmcclintic_at_stthomas.edu>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 21:34:14 -0500

Dear List:

In short, I am writing a number of functions as building blocks for other functions and have some questions about scoping and passing arguments.

Suppose I have functions foo1, foo2, and foo3 such that:

	foo1<-function(a=1,b=TRUE,c=FALSE){#do stuff};
	foo2<-function(x=1,y=FALSE,z=c(1,2,3,4)){#do stuff};

I want to be able to pass a,b,c,x,y,z to the functions foo1 and foo2 though foo3 (whether I define default values or not). How do I do this? I read a bit in the wiki about problems with partial argument matching and argument matching (lesson: make argument names not match truncated versions of other argument names in the "target" function).

To get a better feel for things I've been playing with examples such as:


fun() returns 0.25 0.25 as expected.
fun(a=2) returns 0.5 0.5 as expected.
However, fun(b=1) returns 0.25 0.25 when I want to overwrite b with the value 1 and have it return 1.

Likewise with


any argument I supply for b seems to be ignored.

I understand as b is not defined within the function when I enter


lexical scoping means R looks for b up one level and, finding b, uses it.

Thanks for any/all help.


Jason Q. McClintic

Jason Q McClintic
UST MB 1945
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105

"It is insufficient to protect ourselves with laws, we must protect 
ourselves with mathematics."--Bruce Schneier

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Received on Tue 25 Mar 2008 - 03:27:20 GMT

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