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Re: st: Re: Bug in -use- or -if- ?

From   "Joseph Coveney" <>
To   "Statalist" <>
Subject   Re: st: Re: Bug in -use- or -if- ?
Date   Sat, 7 Feb 2009 00:34:13 +0900


Stata must have separate observation number variables just as you describe.  I
think that _n is your MC.  And that it doesn't change its role, not even
in -use filename if _n >= 37-.  Rather than trying to get _n to do what it
apparently is not meant to, maybe it would be better to ask if/how you can get
access to that file observation counter (your FC) that Stata must also have in
order to -use filename in 37/l-.

Joseph Coveney


Sergiy Radyakin wrote:

I agree that this might be a plausible explanation of what's going on,
but this is hardly what one would expect. E.g. when I type a variable
name in {use filename.dta if age>18}, I mean the variable age in the
dataset filename.dta, not in the current dataset in memory. Following
the same logic, _n must also refer to the observation number in the
file. Otherwise, what would be a valid example of using _n in an
if-condition after -use-? (if I understand you correctly it will
always evaluate either to zero or one for the whole statement -use-,
not for each observation).

The definition of _n that you quote never refers to the location of
observations. "Number of current observation" where? In memory or in
the file? For all other commands it is perfectly clear - in the
memory. But for -use-, it just doesn't make sense to refer to memory
since it just might be empty. Say, I am reading a file with
  use filename.dta if (age>18) & (int(_n/2)==_n/2)
taking all even observations of persons older than 18.
Then when Stata reads data it maintains two counters, one call it FC
is the record number in the file, and another MC in the memory (and
FC>=MC always). Evaluating _n to MC makes little sense since I may not
a priori know how many results will the if-condition fetch. But
evaluating _n to FC makes perfect sense because it defines which part
of the file is eligible for load.

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