One error message you may encounter when using R is:

Error in matrix2 %*% matrix1 : non-conformable arguments

This error occurs when you attempt to multiply two matrices but the number of **columns** in the left matrix does not match the number of **rows** in the right matrix.

The following example shows how to resolve this error in practice.

**How to Reproduce the Error**

Suppose we have the following two matrices in R:

#create first matrix mat1 <- matrix(1:10, nrow=5) mat1 [,1] [,2] [1,] 1 6 [2,] 2 7 [3,] 3 8 [4,] 4 9 [5,] 5 10 #create second matrix mat2 <- matrix(1:6, nrow=2) mat2 [,1] [,2] [,3] [1,] 1 3 5 [2,] 2 4 6

Now suppose we attempt to multiply the second matrix by the first matrix:

#attempt to multiply second matrix by first matrix mat2 %*% mat1 Error in mat2 %*% mat1 : non-conformable arguments

We receive an error because the number of **columns** (3) in the left matrix does not match the number of **rows** (5) in the right matrix.

**How to Avoid the Error**

To avoid the **non-conformable arguments** error, we must instead multiply the first matrix by the second matrix:

multiply first matrix by second matrix mat1 %*% mat2 [,1] [,2] [,3] [1,] 13 27 41 [2,] 16 34 52 [3,] 19 41 63 [4,] 22 48 74 [5,] 25 55 85

Notice that we’re able to successfully multiply the two matrices without any error because the number of **columns** (2) in the left matrix matches the number of **rows** (2) in the right matrix.

We can also use the** dim()** function to display the number of columns and rows in each matrix:

#view dimensions of first matrix dim(mat1) [1] 5 2 #view dimensions of second matrix dim(mat2) [1] 2 3

From this output we can see:

- The first matrix has
**5**rows and**2**columns. - The second matrix has
**2**rows and**3**columns.

This makes it obvious that we must use the first matrix on the left and the second matrix on the right when multiplying since the first matrix has **2** columns and the second matrix has **2** rows.

**Additional Resources**

The following tutorials explain how to fix other common errors in R:

How to Fix in R: Arguments imply differing number of rows

How to Fix in R: error in select unused arguments

How to Fix in R: replacement has length zero