base (version 3.5.0)

call: Function Calls


Create or test for objects of mode (or type: typeof) "call".


call(name, …)



a non-empty character string naming the function to be called.

arguments to be part of the call.


an arbitrary R object.


call should not be used to attempt to evade restrictions on the use of .Internal and other non-API calls.


call returns an unevaluated function call, that is, an unevaluated expression which consists of the named function applied to the given arguments (name must be a quoted string which gives the name of a function to be called). Note that although the call is unevaluated, the arguments are evaluated.

call is a primitive, so the first argument is taken as name and the remaining arguments as arguments for the constructed call: if the first argument is named the name must partially match name. is used to determine whether x is a call (i.e., of mode "call"). Note that is.language is also TRUE for calls (but also for symbols and expressions where is false).

Objects of mode "list" can be coerced to mode "call". The first element of the list becomes the function part of the call, so should be a function or the name of one (as a symbol; a quoted string will not do).

All three are primitive functions.


Becker, R. A., Chambers, J. M. and Wilks, A. R. (1988) The New S Language. Wadsworth & Brooks/Cole.

See Also for calling a function by name and argument list; Recall for recursive calling of functions; further is.language, expression, function.


Run this code
# NOT RUN { #-> FALSE: Functions are NOT calls

## set up a function call to round with argument 10.5
cl <- call("round", 10.5) # TRUE
identical(quote(round(10.5)), # <- less functional, but the same
          cl) # TRUE
## such a call can also be evaluated.
eval(cl) # [1] 10

class(cl) # "call"
typeof(cl)# "language" && is.language(cl) # always TRUE for "call"s

A <- 10.5
call("round", A)        # round(10.5)
call("round", quote(A)) # round(A)
f <- "round"
call(f, quote(A))       # round(A)
## if we want to supply a function we need to use or similar
f <- round
# }
call(f, quote(A))  # error: first arg must be character
# }
(g <-, quote(A))))
## alternatively but less transparently
g <- list(f, quote(A))
mode(g) <- "call"
## see also the examples in the help for
# }

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