is.finite {base}R Documentation

Finite, Infinite and NaN Numbers


is.finite and is.infinite return a vector of the same length as x, indicating which elements are finite (not infinite and not missing) or infinite.

Inf and -Inf are positive and negative infinity whereas NaN means ‘Not a Number’. (These apply to numeric values and real and imaginary parts of complex values but not to values of integer vectors.) Inf and NaN are reserved words in the R language.






R object to be tested: the default methods handle atomic vectors.


is.finite returns a vector of the same length as x the jth element of which is TRUE if x[j] is finite (i.e., it is not one of the values NA, NaN, Inf or -Inf) and FALSE otherwise. Complex numbers are finite if both the real and imaginary parts are.

is.infinite returns a vector of the same length as x the jth element of which is TRUE if x[j] is infinite (i.e., equal to one of Inf or -Inf) and FALSE otherwise. This will be false unless x is numeric or complex. Complex numbers are infinite if either the real or the imaginary part is.

is.nan tests if a numeric value is NaN. Do not test equality to NaN, or even use identical, since systems typically have many different NaN values. One of these is used for the numeric missing value NA, and is.nan is false for that value. A complex number is regarded as NaN if either the real or imaginary part is NaN but not NA. All elements of logical, integer and raw vectors are considered not to be NaN.

All three functions accept NULL as input and return a length zero result. The default methods accept character and raw vectors, and return FALSE for all entries. Prior to R version 2.14.0 they accepted all input, returning FALSE for most non-numeric values; cases which are not atomic vectors are now signalled as errors.

All three functions are generic: you can write methods to handle specific classes of objects, see InternalMethods.


A logical vector of the same length as x: dim, dimnames and names attributes are preserved.


In R, basically all mathematical functions (including basic Arithmetic), are supposed to work properly with +/- Inf and NaN as input or output.

The basic rule should be that calls and relations with Infs really are statements with a proper mathematical limit.

Computations involving NaN will return NaN or perhaps NA: which of those two is not guaranteed and may depend on the R platform (since compilers may re-order computations).


The IEC 60559 standard, also known as the ANSI/IEEE 754 Floating-Point Standard.

D. Goldberg (1991) What Every Computer Scientist Should Know about Floating-Point Arithmetic ACM Computing Surveys, 23(1).
Postscript version available at Extended PDF version at

The C99 function isfinite is used for is.finite.

See Also

NA, ‘Not Available’ which is not a number as well, however usually used for missing values and applies to many modes, not just numeric and complex.

Arithmetic, double.


pi / 0 ## = Inf a non-zero number divided by zero creates infinity
0 / 0  ## =  NaN

1/0 + 1/0 # Inf
1/0 - 1/0 # NaN

    1/0 == Inf,
    1/Inf == 0

[Package base version 3.2.2 Index]