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If you want to change the order of a character strings you can use parentheses in the `pattern`

to group parts of the string together. These groups can in the `replacement`

argument be addresed using consecutive numbers.

The following example shows how you can reorder a vector of names of the form "surname, forename" into a vector of the form "forename surname".

```
library(randomNames)
set.seed(1)
strings <- randomNames(5)
strings
# [1] "Sigg, Zachary" "Holt, Jake" "Ortega, Sandra" "De La Torre, Nichole"
# [5] "Perkins, Donovon"
sub("^(.+),\\s(.+)$", "\\2 \\1", strings)
# [1] "Zachary Sigg" "Jake Holt" "Sandra Ortega" "Nichole De La Torre"
# [5] "Donovon Perkins"
```

If you only need the surname you could just address the first pairs of parentheses.

```
sub("^(.+),\\s(.+)", "\\1", strings)
# [1] "Sigg" "Holt" "Ortega" "De La Torre" "Perkins"
```

This modified text is an extract of the original Stack Overflow Documentation created by following contributors and released under CC BY-SA 3.0

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