```
x <- c("A and B", "A, B and C", "A, B, C and D", "foobar")
pattern <- "[[:space:]]*(,|and)[[:space:]]"
## Match data from regexpr()
m <- regexpr(pattern, x)
regmatches(x, m)
regmatches(x, m, invert = TRUE)
## Match data from gregexpr()
m <- gregexpr(pattern, x)
regmatches(x, m)
regmatches(x, m, invert = TRUE)
## Consider
x <- "John (fishing, hunting), Paul (hiking, biking)"
## Suppose we want to split at the comma (plus spaces) between the
## persons, but not at the commas in the parenthesized hobby lists.
## One idea is to "blank out" the parenthesized parts to match the
## parts to be used for splitting, and extract the persons as the
## non-matched parts.
## First, match the parenthesized hobby lists.
m <- gregexpr("\\([^)]*\\)", x)
## Write a little utility for creating blank strings with given numbers
## of characters.
blanks <- function(n) {
vapply(Map(rep.int, rep.int(" ", length(n)), n, USE.NAMES = FALSE),
paste, "", collapse = "")
}
## Create a copy of x with the parenthesized parts blanked out.
s <- x
regmatches(s, m) <- Map(blanks, lapply(regmatches(s, m), nchar))
s
## Compute the positions of the split matches (note that we cannot call
## strsplit() on x with match data from s).
m <- gregexpr(", *", s)
## And finally extract the non-matched parts.
regmatches(x, m, invert = TRUE)
```

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