The “error in rep1 n : invalid times argument” message will occur when using the rep function to produce replicated data and the value you enter for the number of times to replicate the data is not a positive real number. Fixing the problem requires making sure that this number is a single positive real number.

### Description of the R Error

The rep function replicates the element given it a specified number of times. It is not the only function that can trigger this problem, but it is the most common. While the data being duplicated can be a single or double vector, the number of times it is duplicated cannot be a vector, but it must be a single value. This is because the job of the function is to replicate the data it is given a specific number of times and as a result, that number must be a positive real number. If you miss this requirement, you will get our error message.

### Explanation of the R error

Here are four examples of the “error in rep1 n : invalid times argument” message being produced by the rep function.

> rep(“a”, – 5)

Error in rep(“a”, -5) : invalid ‘times’ argument

In this example, the number of times the value is set to be replicated is a negative number, which produces this message.

> d = “a”

> rep(d, NA)

Error in rep(d, NA) : invalid ‘times’ argument

In this example, the number of times the value is set to be replicated is a missing value, which produces this message.

> b = matrix(c(1,2,2,3,3,4), ncol = 2, byrow = TRUE)

> b

[,1] [,2]

[1,] 1 2

[2,] 2 3

[3,] 3 4

> j = c(1,2,3)

> j

[1] 1 2 3

> rep(1,b[j,2])

Error in rep(1, b[j, 2]) : invalid ‘times’ argument

In this example, we tried to replicate the value three times using a vector, but this will not work, and it produces our message.

> j = c(1,2,3)

> j

[1] 1 2 3

> rep(1,j)

Error in rep(1, j) : invalid ‘times’ argument

In this example, we tried to use a vector as the number of times the value will be replicated. This will not work. All these examples produce our message because the value being entered into the function is not a positive real number. They show up as negative numbers, missing values, and vectors but it does not work. The value has to be a single positive real number.

### How to Fix the R Error

Here we have four examples fixing the “error in rep1 n : invalid times argument” message in the rep function.

> rep(“a”, 5)

[1] “a” “a” “a” “a” “a”

In this example, we replaced the negative number with a positive number and it works fine.

> n = 5.456

> d = “a”

> rep(d, n)

[1] “a” “a” “a” “a” “a”

In this example, we replaced the missing value with a variable indicating the number of times to replicate the value in the second variable and it works fine.

> b = matrix(c(1,2,2,3,3,4), ncol = 2, byrow = TRUE)

> b

[,1] [,2]

[1,] 1 2

[2,] 2 3

[3,] 3 4

> rep(1,b[1,2])

[1] 1 1

> rep(1,b[2,2])

[1] 1 1 1

> rep(1,b[3,2])

[1] 1 1 1 1

In this example, we use the rep function three times, accessing a different value in the matrix, and it produces no problems.

> j = c(1,2,3)

> j

[1] 1 2 3

> rep(1,j[1])

[1] 1

> rep(1,j[2])

[1] 1 1

> rep(1,j[3])

[1] 1 1 1

In this example, we use the rep function three times, accessing a different value in the vector and it produces no problems. Fixing this problem simply requires making sure the number of times you replicate the given value is a positive real number. When this argument is entered properly, it replicates the data without any problems.

The “error in rep1 n : invalid times argument” message is an easy problem to get when using the rep function. You need to remember that it only takes a positive real number. It does not take negative numbers, missing values, or vectors. Remember this simple fact and you will avoid this problem and easily fix it should it occur.