ifelse function in R only returns the first element

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If you also favor to use the function, be aware of the returned value. For example:

> ifelse(1>0, 3, 4) 
[1] 3
> ifelse(1>0, c(2, 3), c(4, 5)) # only the first element returned.
[1] 2
 
> ifelse(c(1:10)>5, 'on', 'off')
[1] "off" "off" "off" "off" "off" "on" "on" "on" "on" "on"

Here is another nice example (from http://rwiki.sciviews.org/doku.php?id=tips:programming:ifelse)

> varD <- log(0:9)  # A vector like this one that contains -Inf could be troublesome in subsequent manipulations
> varD
[1] -Inf 0.0000000 0.6931472 1.0986123 1.3862944 1.6094379 1.7917595
[8] 1.9459101 2.0794415 2.1972246
> varD <- ifelse(is.finite(varD), varD, NA) # Remove the -Inf, replace with NA
> varD
[1] NA 0.0000000 0.6931472 1.0986123 1.3862944 1.6094379 1.7917595
[8] 1.9459101 2.0794415 2.1972246

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