# The difference between length() and lengths() in R programming

## Both functions look the same, but each has slightly different purposes

Most R practitioners know there is a built-in function called *length()*, which is used to display the number of elements within a data object.

What most don’t realize is that there is a second built-in length function, called *lengths()*, which provides some nuanced yet important options if you use an object length in a syntax.

Where *length()* shows the length of an object,* lengths()* is designed to show the length of each element in a data object.

For example, when I apply length() to this object of 7 numbers, the number of elements is summed and returned. So in this instance, R returns the number 7

The lengths() function returns the count for each observation instead, so we see seven number 1s, a one for each observation instead of the sum value, 7.

So how is *lengths()* beneficial? The *lengths() *function returns a vector rather than a summary integer in length, so its values are helpful if there are a series of objects with varying…