[R] Confusing concept of vector and matrix in R

Sharpie chuck at sharpsteen.net
Tue Mar 30 04:47:20 CEST 2010

yehengxin wrote:
> Why does R need the concept of "Vector"?  In my opinion, it is a useless
> and confusing concept.  A vector is simply a special case of a matrix
> whose row or column number is equal to 1.  When I take submatrix from one
> matrix and if row or column number is 1, R will automatically convert it
> into a vector.  It is very straightforward that a submatrix of a matrix
> should be a matrix.   In each time, I have to use as.matrix() to convert
> the vector back to matrix.    It is very annoying!

Except that to a computer all "matricies" and "arrays" are just vectors for
which some human arbitrarily declared something like "row break every n

And R can be told not to perform the conversion from sub-matrix to vector,
open the help page for the subset operator:


And play with the drop option.


Charlie Sharpsteen
Undergraduate-- Environmental Resources Engineering
Humboldt State University
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