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Difference Between C and C++

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Prerita Agarwal
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23 Jul, 2024 @ 01:30 PM


C and C++ are both widely used programming languages, but they have several key differences. The main difference between C and C++ is that C is a procedural programming language and it does not support classes and objects. Whereas, C++ is an extension of C programming with object-oriented programming (OOP) support.

Difference Between C and C++

What is C?

C is a machine-independent structural or procedural-oriented computer language that is widely utilized in a variety of applications. C is a fundamental programming language that can be used to create everything from operating systems (such as Windows) to complicated applications such as the Oracle database, Git, Python interpreter, and many more. Because it serves as the foundation for other programming languages, the C programming language has been dubbed "God's programming language." We can simply learn other programming languages if we know the C language. 

C is designed and developed by Dennis Ritchie in a company-Bell Labs in the year 1972 for the UNIX operating system. The recent and stable release of the C programming language is made in the year 2011, December.

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What is C++?

C++ is a general-purpose programming language created by Bjarne Stroustrup at Bell Labs in the early 1980s. C++ is quite similar to C, and it is so compatible with C that it can run 99 percent of C programs without changing any source code. However, because C++ is an object-oriented programming language, it is a safer and more well-structured programming language than C. 

Initially, C++ was called by the name “C with Classes” and later it was renamed to C++ in the year 1983. The symbol ++ indicates that an increment operator in C symbolically represents an advanced version of C. The main basis of C++ is, it allows both hardware access and abstraction and it carries effectively that makes C++ stand out and differentiate from other programming languages.

Key Differences between C and C++

  • C is a procedural language, whereas C++ is an object-oriented language.
  • C only supports pointers, but C++ provides pointers and references.
  • Function overloading is not permitted in C, although it is permitted in C++.
  • C has built-in data types, but C++ has both built-in and user-defined data types.
  • C is a top-down programming language, whereas C++ is a bottom-up programming language.
  • In C, scan and printf are used for standard input and output, whereas in C++, we use cin and cout are used for input and output.

Advantages of C over C++

  1. C is simpler to read.
  2. In C, there is no operator overloading, and very little is going on behind the hood.
  3. In comparison to C++, C is friendlier to powerful command-line debuggers such as gdb and dbx.
  4. C requires relatively little runtime support.
  5. Because virtual method table lookups are not required in C, it is more efficient than C++.
  6. C is by far the most widely used programming language in several sectors, most notably kernel programming and device driver development.

Advantages of C++ over C

  1. C++ is a highly portable programming language that is frequently used for multi-device, multi-platform app development.
  2. C++ is an object-oriented programming language that supports classes, inheritance, polymorphism, data abstraction, and encapsulation.
  3. C++ has a large function library.
  4. C++ allows for exception handling and function overloading, while C does not.

Difference Between C and C++

ParadigmProcedural ProgrammingProcedural and Object-Oriented Programming
Standard LibrariesStandard Library for basic functionsExtensive Standard Template Library (STL)
Memory ManagementManual memory management using malloc and freeSupports manual management and RAII via constructors and destructors
Data EncapsulationNo support for encapsulationSupports encapsulation using classes and objects
InheritanceNot supportedSupports inheritance for code reuse
PolymorphismNot supportedSupports both compile-time (function overloading) and runtime polymorphism (virtual functions)
Exception HandlingError handling using return codesBuilt-in exception handling with try, catch, and throw
Function OverloadingNot supportedSupports function and operator overloading
NamespaceNot supportedSupports namespaces to avoid name collisions
TemplatesNot supportedSupports templates for generic programming
Use CasesSystem programming, embedded systemsApplication development, game development, GUI applications
File Extension.c.cpp

Also check out this article - Pair in C++ and Short int in C Programming

Frequently Asked Questions

Which language is better in C vs C++?

C++ is a superior language to C, with more functions that use OOP ideas. So, certainly, C++ is superior to C in the development of some complex projects. Thus we can say that in terms of speed C wins in C vs C++ whereas in terms of complex projects C++ wins in C vs C++.

What is there that is present in C++ and not in C?

The significant distinction between C and C++ is that C++ is an item-oriented language that provides blessed built-in integration of record protection, scalability, improved overall performance, rich built-in functions, and a lot more.

Which is faster, C or C++?

C is generally considered faster than C++ due to its lower-level programming nature and lack of object-oriented features, which can add overhead. However, with careful optimization, C++ can achieve comparable performance, especially with modern compilers.

Where are C and C++ used?

C is commonly used in system programming, embedded systems, and operating systems due to its efficiency and low-level access to memory. C++ is used in application development, game development, real-time systems, and GUI applications due to its object-oriented features and rich standard library.


In this article, we have extensively discussed the differences between C and C++. Understanding the differences between C and C++ is crucial for selecting the appropriate language for a given project. While C excels in system-level programming with its simplicity and efficiency, C++ offers powerful features for application development, such as object-oriented programming and a rich standard library. Both languages have their unique strengths and use cases, making them invaluable tools in a programmer's toolkit. 

If you would like to learn more, check out our articles on Library

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Topics covered
What is C?
What is C++?
Key Differences between C and C++
Advantages of C over C++
Advantages of C++ over C
Difference Between C and C++
Frequently Asked Questions
Which language is better in C vs C++?
What is there that is present in C++ and not in C?
Which is faster, C or C++?
Where are C and C++ used?