# [Rd] Negative argument for head() and tail()

Vincent Goulet vincent.goulet at act.ulaval.ca
Wed Apr 20 22:32:56 CEST 2005

Le 20 Avril 2005 16:05, A.J. Rossini a écrit :
> x[-length(x)] ?

I feel idiot from that one, but hold on to my point. ;-)

Better example, then: how about a compact way to drop, say, the last 3
elements of a vector? I think

> tail(x, -3)

would be nicer --- and more readable --- than

> x[-((length(x)-2):length(x))]

or

> x[0:3 -length(x)]

or some other convoluted way to achieve the same result.

(BTW, dropping the last element of a vector would be 'tail(x, -1)., not
'tail(x, -length(x))' as stated in my original post. The latter would drop
all the elements.)

> On 4/20/05, Vincent Goulet <vincent.goulet at act.ulaval.ca> wrote:
> > Dear R developers,
> >
> > I'm a former APL programmer. In that language, the "take" (up arrow) and
> > "drop" (down arrow) operators were extensively used to, well, take and
> > drop elements of vectors. Functions head() and tail() are equivalents in
> > R for the "take" operator, but nothing seems to mimic the "drop"
> > operator. I think it would be useful.
> >
> > For example, is there any simpler way to extract all elements of a vector
> > but the last one than doing
> >
> > > x[1:(length(x) - 1)]  ?
> >
> > An equivalent of "drop" would make this easy.
> >
> > Now, I think this could be easily implemented with the existing functions
> > by allowing negative arguments to head() and tail(). For example,
> >
> >
> > would drop the first element of a vector and
> >
> > > tail(x, -length(x))
> >
> > the last one.
> >
> > Is there any interest for such an extension?
> >
> > I would be very willing to contribute a patch, although I don't have much
> > experience in doing so.
> >
> > Best regards,
> >
> > --
> >   Vincent Goulet, Associate Professor
> >   École d'actuariat
> >   Université Laval, Québec
> >   Vincent.Goulet at act.ulaval.ca   http://vgoulet.act.ulaval.ca
> >
> > ______________________________________________
> > R-devel at stat.math.ethz.ch mailing list
> > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel

--
Vincent Goulet, Professeur agrégé
École d'actuariat
Université Laval, Québec
Vincent.Goulet at act.ulaval.ca   http://vgoulet.act.ulaval.ca