# Replace first match in R

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Replace first match in R, This article explains how to replace patterns in characters in R using the `sub()`

and `gsub()`

functions.

We will cover the basic syntax and definitions of the two functions, as well as two examples of how to apply them.

**Basic R Syntax:Replace first match in R**

The basic syntax for `sub()`

and `gsub()`

is as follows:

sub("old", "new", x) gsub("old", "new", x)

The `sub()`

function replaces the first match in a character string with new characters, while the `gsub()`

function replaces all matches in a character string with new characters.

**Example 1: Comparing sub() and gsub()**

Before we can apply `sub()`

and `gsub()`

, we need to create an example character string in R:

x <- "aaabbb"

Our example character string contains the letters “a” and “b” (each three times). We will replace the character pattern “a” with the new character “c”.

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Using `sub()`

:

sub("a", "c", x) # "caabbb"

The `sub()`

function replaces only the first match with our new character (i.e. the first “a” is replaced by “c”).

Using `gsub()`

:

gsub("a", "c", x) # "cccbbb"

The `gsub()`

function replaces all matches with “c” (i.e. all “a” of our example character string).

**Example 2: Replacing Multiple Patterns**

In this example, we will replace multiple patterns with the same new character.

We can do this by using the `|`

operator between the different patterns that we want to match. For example:

sub("a|b", "c", x) # "caabbb"

Using `sub()`

with multiple patterns does not change the result, because the first match is still the first “a” of our example character string.

Using `gsub()`

with multiple patterns:

gsub("a|b", "c", x) # "cccccc"

The `gsub()`

function replaces all characters with “c”, since each of the characters in our example character string matches “a” or “b”.

**Conclusion**

In this article, we have demonstrated how to use `sub()`

and `gsub()`

to replace patterns in characters in R.

We have covered two examples of how to apply these functions, including replacing a single pattern and replacing multiple patterns.

By using these functions, you can quickly and easily replace patterns in your character strings in R.

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