Computational Statistics

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 263–269 | Cite as

Can we have better semantics for R’s attach mechanism?

  • Peter DalgaardEmail author
Original Paper


The semantics of attaching data frames have baffled many R beginners, to the extent that some people recommend that these mechanisms should simply not be taught. However, attaching does offer notational simplification, and it might be argued that, at least to some extent, the problem is that things do not behave like users would reasonably expect. The paper discusses the current situation and comes up with some ideas that could potentially make life easier for the end user. The most radical of these ideas requires substantial changes to the way R handles its search path, but there are also much simpler ideas, requiring only a few small support functions.


Data Frame Search Path Search List Chained Evaluation Column Order 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiostatisticsUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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