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Difference between C and C++ with Code Example

Updated Jan 14, 2020

The primary difference that exists between these two programming languages is that C is a procedural language for programming and fails to support objects and classes. On the other hand, C++ is a combination of object-oriented and procedural programming languages. In other words, it is oft referred to as a hybrid language as it is a superset of C and supports more features. Through this article, we aim to inform you about what is C++ language, what is C language, the fundamental difference between C and C++, and so forth. Read on to know more.

C and C++ Difference

Basis of Distinction C Language C++ Language
Type of programming language C is a middle-level procedural programming language. C++ is an intermediate-level object-oriented programming language.
Division of program Big C programming language codes are divisible into smaller pieces called functions. Big-sized C++ programming language codes are divisible into classes and objects.
Inline function C language fails to support inline function. C++ supports inline function.
Approach C language programs adopt the ‘Top-Down’ approach to programming. C++ adopts the bottom-up approach in its codes.
File extension The file extension is .c for C language programs. The file extension is.cpp for all C++ based programs.
Standard input/ output operations Scan and printf are the standard input/output operations used by C language. Cin» and Cout« are the standard input/output operations put to use by C++ language.
Data security Data is insecure in case of programs developed in C language. Data is secure because of the encapsulation feature of C++, an important OOPs programming language. The data cannot be accessed without due permissions by other external functions.
Structure Structure in C is not equipped to offer the features of the function declaration. Structure in C++ is equipped with features of declaring functions as member functions of the program’s structure.
Compatibility with other programming languages C does not show the property of being compatible with other languages. C++ is compatible with most generic programming languages.
Variable Declaration In C language, all variable declarations are to be defined at the starting stage of the program. C++ programs allow developers to declare the variables anywhere within the function.
Point of Focus C lays focus on the procedures /steps that need to be followed to gain solutions to the problem on hand. C++ emphasises the objects and classes rather than steps/ procedures. The abstraction level is higher in the case of C++ programs.
Function Overloading C disallows the use of the feature of function overloading. C++ program codes are equipped with the property of function overloading.
Ease of Coding C is referred to as Hands-on language and is one of the oldest programming languages available for developers. C language is based on steps and procedures. All directions have to be provided by the coder to do almost everything. C++ language is an extension language of C language. It helps developers work with highly controlled object-oriented codes.
Data Types C language programs are not designed with the feature of declaring Boolean or String data types. The language supports primitive and built-in data types. C++ supports Boolean as well as String data types.
Concept of Mapping The mapping structure between functions and data in the C language is very complicated. The mapping structure between functions and data can be established with the usage of objects and classes.
Source Code C is a free-format source code programming language. C++ has its origin in the C programming language.
Pointer C supports pointers only; it does not provide support for references. C++ provides support for pointers and references alike.
Global Variables C allows for the multiple declaring of global variables. The multiple declarations of variables (global) are disallowed.
Exception Handling C has no support for Exception (error)
Handling; some exceptions can be performed using workarounds.
C++ provides support for Exception Handling. The operation is capable of being performed using the try and catch blocks.
Encapsulation Does not support encapsulation as data and functions are separate and free entities. C++ supports encapsulation. Data and functions are encapsulated together as an object.
Relationship C is a subset of C++ language, cannot run C++ codes. C++ being a superset of C language, is capable of running most codes even though the vice versa is not possible.
Functions C language codes disallow functions that have any default arrangements. C++ codes allow for functions having default arrangements.
Namespace Namespace feature is not present in C language. Namespace is present in C++ language codes.
Polymorphism The C language does not support polymorphism. Polymorphism, which is an essential feature of OOPS,
is used in C++ language.
Memory management C provides calloc() and malloc() functions for the cause of dynamic memory allocation. C++ features a new operator for the cause of memory management.
Virtual functions The virtual functions concept is present in the C language. The concept of virtual functions does not apply to codes developed in C++ language.
Inheritance Inheritance is not a property of C language. Inheritance is supported by C++ language.
Default header file C uses stdio.h header files by default. C++ uses iosteam.h header files by default.
Keywords C language contains 32 keywords. C++ language contains 52 keywords.
GUI programming C language provides GTK tools for GUI programming. C++ provides support for Qt tools for the cause of GUI programming.
Support for operator overloading and functions C does not support them at all. C++ supports function as well as operator overloading.
Support for a procedural programming paradigm C provides support for procedural programming paradigm that aids its cause of code development. C++ offers support for procedural as well as object-oriented programming paradigms; it is referred to as hybrid language because of this property.

What is C Language?

C programming language can be defined as a middle-level language. It was the brainchild of Dennis Ritchie and was first developed in 1972 at Bell Labs. As C successfully combines the features and capabilities of a high-level language and low-level language, it can be categorised as a middle-level language. C language is a classical high-level type language used for programmers to develop portable applications and firmware. Though C was first developed with the intent of writing system software, it has transformed itself as an appropriate language for the development of firmware systems.

Code Example of C Program :


int main() {
   int n1=10;
   int n2=25;
   int add=n1+n2;
   printf("Sum = %i", add);

Output :

Sum = 35

Features of C Language

  • This robust language comes packaged as a rich set of operators and built-in functions that are equipped for the development of any complex program.
  • The C compiler is a combination of the capabilities of a high-level language and assembly language.
  • The programs scripted in C are quick and efficient courtesy of the presence of dominant operators and different data types.
  • Highly portable, the programs written in C language can be run on different machines with or without any modifications.
  • C programs can extend themselves.
  • The programs written in C language are a collection of functions that are ably supported by the C library. Programmers can also create new features to add to the C library.

Today, C is the most widely used programming language in context to the development of operating systems and embedded systems.

What is C++ Language?

C++ is a popular computer programming language that combines the features of Simula67 and C programming language. Simula67 is among the first object-oriented programming languages. Bjarne Stroustrup developed C++ in 1979. C++ introduced the concept of objects and classes. This intermediate or middle-level programing language is a smart combination of the features of high and low-level programming languages. Initially, C++ was referred to as "C with classes" because it showcased various features of C language. In other words, when C language gains the property of inheritance with classes, then it is known as C++

Code Example of C++ Program:

#include <iostream>

using namespace std;

int main() {
    int a=10;
    int b=25;
    int sum=x+y;

    cout<<"Sum = " << z;

Output : Sum = 35

Features of C++ language

  • It is a compiled language that is equipped to be implemented on various platforms.
  • C++ is an object-oriented program that also supports low-level memory manipulations.
  • The primary feature of C++ is that it is a collection of various predefined classes; they are data types capable of multiple time use.
  • C++ language facilitates the declaration of different user-defined classes.
  • The newly declared classes can accommodate member functions for the implementation of essential functionality.
  • Multiple objects of specific classes can be defined for the creation of various functions inside the class.

Overall, C++ language is used by modern-day developers for its significant features of encapsulation, abstraction, polymorphism, etc.

Key Difference between C and C++

  1. C is a middle-level coding language developed at Bell Lab by Dennis Ritchie in 1972.
  2. C++ computer coding language was developed in 1980 by Bjarne Stroustrup.
  3. C is well-suited for the development of portable applications and firmware as a high-level classical coding language.
  4. The concepts related to objects and classes were first introduced by C++ language; it is an effective combination of low-level and high-level languages alike.
  5. C is a procedure-oriented programming language.
  6. C++ is a useful object-oriented programming language.
  7. C language offers support for pointers only while C++ supports pointers and references alike.
  8. Polymorphism is an essential property of C++ language which is not present with C language.


We hope that you have attained a good idea about the basics of C and C++ languages to take care of your coding. The pointers related to C vs C++ and the above-mentioned comparative features will guide you forward to enable your cause with both programming languages. In case you have any other points of distinction between C and C++ that we may have missed out, please let us know in the Comments section below.