[R] Apostrophes in R Commander in recode

David Winsemius dwinsemius at comcast.net
Fri Jul 29 18:18:06 CEST 2011

On Jul 29, 2011, at 11:32 AM, Simon Kiss wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
> I'm using R64 (2.13) on Mac OS 10.6.8 and I've encountered a problem  
> with the recode function in Rcommander.

It's probably in a package named 'car'.


>  The application cannot deal with apostrpohes ( ' ) do not.  I've  
> got a factor from the 2008 Canada Election study (highest level of  
> schooling) and some of the values include "Bachelor's Degree" , .
> I've troubleshooted (shot?) the recode function for all the levels  
> and it's really the apostrophe that is the problem.
> When entering , I get the error message
> [39] ERROR: Use only double-quotes (" ") in recode directives

Need to escape the single quote:

   x <- c("Bachelor's Degree" , "Master's Degree")
   recode(x, ' "Bachelor\'s Degree" = 1 ; "Master\'s Degree"= 2')
# [1] 1 2

You might also have tried:


> I see also that the same problem exists in recode from the command  
> line.
> There are two ways I can solve this myself, but neither are both are  
> a bit more complex than the context requires (e.g. exercises for an  
> undergraduate class). I can use gsub from the command line to remove  
> the apostrophes, or i can  import the data file without using value  
> labels as factor levels and that would doubtless work.  But the  
> technical documentation for the CES is very poor; my students would  
> have to end up opening up the original .sav file in PASW and hunt  
> down what the underlying factor levels refer to in that instance.
> Is there a solution within R Commander?


David Winsemius, MD
West Hartford, CT

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