The simplest object type in R is a scalar. A scalar object is just a single value like a number or a name. In the previous chapter we defined several scalar objects. Here are examples of numeric scalars:
# Examples of numeric scalers a <- 100 b <- 3 / 100 c <- (a + b) / b
Scalars don’t have to be numeric, they can also be characters (also known as strings). In R, you denote characters using quotation marks. Here are examples of character scalars:
# Examples of character scalers d <- "ship" e <- "cannon" f <- "Do any modern armies still use cannons?"
As you can imagine, R treats numeric and character scalars differently. For example, while you can do basic arithmetic operations on numeric scalars – they won’t work on character scalars. If you try to perform numeric operations (like addition) on character scalars, you’ll get an error like this one:
a <- "1" b <- "2" a + b
If you see an error like this one, it means that you’re trying to apply numeric operations to character objects. That’s just sick and wrong.