What does the error "object not interpretable as a factor" mean?

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vect <- C(1, NA, 2, 3, 4, NA, 5, NA, 6, 7, 8, NA, 9)

Produces this error:

object not interpretable as a factor

What am I doing wrong?

This error can perhaps come up with multiple problems, but in your case you simply typed a capital C instead of a lowercase c.


vect <- c(1, NA, 2, 3, 4, NA, 5, NA, 6, 7, 8, NA, 9)

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if you write uppercase like C instead of c then this error will occur, and keep in mind R is case sensitive and you can't do that.

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Always remember that R is case sensitive. You have typed vect <- C which is uppercase. Change it to vect <- c and you will be sorted.

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  • This is actually, IMO, a typo. For future reference, typos are considered off-topic for SO and are usually grounds for question closure.
  • Close away, if you like. I've stopped worrying about that kind of stuff. I just know that I ran into this cryptic error, googled it, and had to dig a bit for the answer. I thought this might be easier for people in the future. That said, I would enjoy a better explanation of the message if someone knows it. (Why a factor? Isn't this a character vector?)
  • Well C is an entirely different function from c. Capital C is for contrasts. Run your vector as C(factor(vect)) and it should return a result
  • @Tom class(c(1, NA, 2, 3, 4, NA, 5, NA, 6, 7, 8, NA, 9)) returns "numeric", so no it is not interpretable as a factor (and is not coerced by C as you can see from looking at the source code for C). So I don't understand why you say it is cryptic. Moreover, you would not be using C correctly anyway even if you bypassed that error. The first argument should be a factor, but you are only passing 1 (C(1) gives the same error). The rest of your "vector" is being passed to other arguments in C and onto ... which is passed onto contr
  • Thanks, @rawr. That is a useful explanation (and you're right I should have said "numeric vector"). I've never used C(), so that error is cryptic to me. I'm no authority on error messaging, but it would seem to me the quicker it helps a user find their mistake the more useful it is. I can understand (now) why that error message is the way it is (and isn't this so with all error messages, there is some logic to it?) I'm just saying for the wrong path I took to get there, it wasn't helpful. I'm guessing there are far more "me"s out there seeing this message than people meaning to type C().
  • I realize this is already covered here: stackoverflow.com/questions/18382029/… , but I added in this simplified answer to give a quicker solution based on my own recent googling experience trying to find an answer. Mark redundant or delete if you want.
  • I did exactly this and have been trying to work it out for what seems like an age! Thanks.