So scrolling through my columns I find \N embedded. I need to count them, but I get an error. Would it be considered a missing value, it's new to me.

# Check whether attribute HeadOfState in country has any missing values, and if so, how many.
country$headOfState[country$headOfState==""] <- NA
country$headOfState[country$headOfState==\N] <- NA

# Check whether attribute IndepYear in country has any missing values, and if so, how many.
country$IndepYear[country$indepYear==""] <- NA
country$indepYear[country$indepYear=='\N'] <- NA

Error: unexpected input in "country$headOfState[country$headOfState==\"

country$headOfState[country$headOfState==\N] <- NA Error: unexpected input in "country$headOfState[country$headOfState==\"


1 Answer 1


The reason its shorws an error, bacause '\' is a part of base regex expressions in R. As states here:

The metacharacters in extended regular expressions are . \ | ( ) [ { ^ $ * + ?

So the comparisson like this


or this ( Its not a valid comparisson at all)


will throw an error. You need to "escape" the "\" symbol. Try something like this instead if you want to replace "\N" with NA:

country$indepYear[country$indepYear=='\\N'] <- NA

If you need just to count them, you can use this approach:


Hope this helps.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much that definitely solved the problem. $\endgroup$
    – Chris Kehl
    Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 12:42
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisKehl you are welcome $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 5, 2018 at 13:36

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