R’s strsplit lets you break up strings into little chunks (called lists), which you can then pull out with another method called sapply. This is not the most efficient way to do this, but it’s presented here in multiple steps for clarity.


# try this in the console. it returns a list (of lists!)
strsplit(dirty, split = "\\(")

# make a function to fetch out the second element of a list
get_second_element <- function(item) {
  return (item[2])

# use sapply to apply this function to each element
dirty_list <- strsplit(dirty, split = "\\(")

#and use!
sapply(dirty_list, get_second_element)

#ps, when you're good and the function is this simple, you can do this all in one line

sapply(strsplit(dirty, split="\\("), function(x) { x[2]} )