20210103 When using R we write commands that instruct the R software to perform particular actions. Formally commands are actually functions which mathematically operate on a set of inputs and produces an output. R provides a wealth of functions and these form the verbs of the language we use to construct sentences. The verbs are the doing words! Although technically everything is a function in R we can generally think of each verb as either a function, a command (Section 3.4) or an operator (Section 3.6).
All functions in R take arguments and return values. When we invoke a function (as distinct from what we will identify as a command) we are interested in the value that it returns. Below is a simple example base::sum()ing two numbers.
# Add two numbers. sum(1, 2)
##  3
Here the function has returned a single value, though it is
technically returned as a vector of length 1 containing just the item
3. The result can be stored into a variable as discussed in
We can define out own functions:
<- function(x) x + 1mysum
A shorthand for function() introduced in 2021 is:
<- \(x) x + 1mysum
This syntax is most useful for anonymous functions inline.
sapply(1:10, \(x) x + 1)
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