Difference between C and C++

Difference between C and C++


Comparing C++ with C is nothing but comparing a son with its father because C++ is a direct descendant of C, the father of many modern programming languages like Java, Python etc

  • C++ is an enhanced version of C which has Object-oriented flavour which enhanced the developer  speed and productivity
  • MongoDB and Apache HTTP server had its design motivation from C++ alone

Here I want to discuss the top 10 difference between C and C++ despite syntactical similarities.

difference between c and c++

Top 10 Key differences between C and C++

Parameters C C++
1. History Dennis Ritchie from The United States of America developed C language in 1972. C++ is introduced in the early ’80s (1982) by Bjarne Stroustrup at AT& T Bell Labs Murray Hills, NewJersey,USA.
2. Language Type C is a procedural programming languge. C++ is a hybrid programming language i.e. (Procedural+OOPs).
3. Approach C use top-down approach. C++ uses bottom-up approach.
4. Keywords C has 32 Keywords. C++ supports 95 Keywords.
5. Memory Allocation C use calloc() and malloc() functions for dynamic memory allocation and free() for de-allocation. C++ use new operator for dynamic memory allocation and delete operator for de-allocation.
6. Object Oriented Programming Support C do not support any kind of OOP features. C++ is an OOP based language and support all OOPs features.
7. Access Modifiers C structure does not have access modifiers. Access modifiers are used in C++ structures.
8. Vitual and friend functions No support for virtual and friend function in C C++ supports virtual and friend functions.
9. Support for error handling No support for error handling. try catch throw blocks help in error handling.
10. Namespace Does not support namespace resulting in less effecient code and name collisions. Supports namespace to prevent name collisions.
11. Function and Operator overloading. C does not support function and operator overloading directly. C++ supports function and operator overloading.
12. Reference Variable No support for refrdence variables. C++ supports refrence variable.
13. Use By Microsoft Windows Kernel, Telegram Messenger, Oracle Database, MySQL, etc. Google Chrome, Microsoft Office, Torque 3-D game engine, and so many more.

1: Object-Oriented Design

  • C++ has support for Class, object, inheritance, abstraction, etc as a result code reusability, data hiding, and memory management is possible
  • C doesn’t have OOPs features, data is open everywhere and move freely through functions

2: Procedural v/s Hybrid Language

  • C is a procedural language i.e development of code in the form of a list of  instructions (functions) where each instruction conveys the compiler to do some action
  • C++ is viewed as Hybrid language i.e it can be used as object-oriented or traditional C type Procedural Programming i.e using OOPS in C++ is optional whereas in java it is mandatory.

3: Namespace Feature

  • C has predefined function support only in the form of header files, as a result, you cannot duplicate the names within the file or program
  • C++ has namespace feature which enables to have same names for functions or variables which  solves naming collision problem

With namespace in C++

#include <iostream>
namespace Prep1  //first namespace
    int a = 1;
namespace Prep2  //2nd namespace
    int a = 2; //same name but different namespace
int main()
    cout << Prep1::a;
    cout << Prep2::a;
    return 0;

Without namespace in C++

#include <iostream> 
int main()
    int a = 1;
    // int a = 2 error: a is previously used

    return 0;

4: Reference Variables support

  • Reference variables enable the user to have multiple variables point a single memory address which is not possible in C
  • C++ has only pointer support: When the reference variable is lost it can be accessed through another alias variable, but if the pointer is lost,  the whole security comes into question

Learn more about references: Reference Variables in C++

5: Keywords

  • C supports 32 keywords whereas C++ has also the same 32 keywords and along with exclusive 20 keywords it has a count of 52 keywords in C++

6: Overloading of functions and operators

  • C++ can have  different functionalities for the same operator
    ex: + can join a string and arithmetic addition of numbers (using Operator Overloading)
  • C++ can have the same name for different functions where the only type of input is different (using Function Overloading)
  • In C you have abs() labs() sabs() function here function code is the same only datatype is different but still, you need to have a different namer which  hampers readability.

7: Subset v/s Superset

  • C is a subset of C++ whereas C++ is a superset of C which means all the
  • C codes can be clubbed or run alone in C++ compiler but vice-versa not possible.

8: Support for exception handling

  • C++ has direct support for exception handling in the form of try, throw, catch keywords which can avoid abnormal termination of the program due to runtime errors
  • In C any runtime error occurs program shutdowns immediately
    ex: the situation of divide by 0 can be handled in C++ but in C it results in compiler failure.

9: Designers and History

  • C was developed by Dennis Ritchie In 1970s at AT&T Bell Labs with the combined features  of BCPL and Basic Programming Languages
  • Inspired from the class feature of Simula67 and block structured
    programming of C, C++was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup in 1979 as an extension of C.

10: When C and When C++

  • C is the only option for embedded systems and System level code(operating System design)
  • C++ gives High-end performance when used in device drivers, server-side applications, gaming, networking i.e super secure application design requires data-hiding from OOPS.