(This article was first published on

**The Geokook. » R**, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)How do you take a vector in R, and paste the individual elements together? *Easy, a loop.* No, bad! **slap on the wrist** Here’s an example why not.

So let’s start by concatenating a few character strings and showing some examples using **base::paste**:

a <- c("something", "to", "paste") [1] "something" "to" "paste"

> paste(a, sep="_") [1] "something" "to" "paste"

> paste(a, collapse="_") [1] "something_to_paste"

> paste(a, sep="_", collapse="-") [1] "something-to-paste"

And there we have it, a simple example demonstrating the difference between a *separator* expression and a *collapse* expression without using a hideous loop.

So finally the moral: read the help pages!

To

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