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What are the arguments and parameters in R?

Onyejiaku Theophilus Chidalu


An argument in R is the information passed into a function. In simpler terms, an argument is a value that is sent to a function when it is called.

The parameter is the value enclosed in the parentheses whenever a function is created.

Function in R

A function, on the other hand, is a block of code that will run only when it is called. To create a function, we simply use the function() keyword.

Creating and calling a function

To create a function in R, we use the function() keyword. To call a function in R, we simply use the name of the function we created alongside a parenthesis. For example, we will type my_function() if we want to call a function my_function that we have created.

Code example

The code below will illustrate how to create and call a function in R.

# creating a function # create a function with the name my_function
my_function <- function() { 
  print("Hello World!")

# calling the function we created in order to execute its command 

As can be seen from the output of the code above, the function is executed because we call the function.

Passing parameters and arguments to a function

We can pass parameters as well as arguments to a function. We can also add many arguments to a function. To separate each argument in a function, we use commas.

Code Example

The code below will illustrate how to create a function, how to pass parameters and arguments to a function, and how to return the arguments we passed to a function.

# creating a function and passing a parameter functionName
myFunction <- function(functionName) {
  paste(functionName, "World!")

# passing the arguments


  • Line 2: We create a function myFunction and pass an argument functionName to it.
  • Line 3: We pass a command to the function to execute whenever the function is called.
  • Line 6-8: We call the function and pass arguments to it.

It is worth noting that an argument is different from a parameter, such that an argument is the variable listed inside the parenthesis whenever a function is called. The arguments in the code above includes Hello, Hi, and Holla. On the other hand, a parameter is a value listed inside the parenthesis whenever we create a function. The parameter in the code above is functionName.




Onyejiaku Theophilus Chidalu

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