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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Argument Vs. Parameter 
3.
What is an Argument in C/C++?
4.
What is a Parameter in C/C++?
5.
Major Difference between Argument and Parameter in C/C++
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
What is the difference between a parameter and an argument in a function?
6.2.
Are parameters also called arguments?
6.3.
What is the difference between argument and parameter code?
6.4.
What is argument type and parameter type?
7.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Difference between Argument and Parameter in C/C++

Author Sonu Deo
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Introduction

In programming languages like C or  C++, functions are widely used to perform a specific task. Functions are useful in reusing a piece of code to perform similar tasks. Functions can be built-in or user-defined. But how do these functions know about the values on which they need to act. Well, this is done by the use of arguments and parameters in the function.

Difference between Argument and Parameter in C/C++

In this article, we will learn about the difference between argument and parameter with proper examples. So let’s get started with the article.

Also read about, loop and while loop

Argument Vs. Parameter 

The key difference between the argument vs parameter is determined by their usage and roles within the function. The parameter belongs to the function signature and it refers to the variable defined in the function signature while the argument is the actual values which are passed by the function call.

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What is an Argument in C/C++?

In C/C++, argument refers to the actual value passed by the function on its call. It sets the data needed by the function to perform its function. The arguments are used to initialise the parameters specified in the function signature. The arguments can be passed as pass-by values and pass-by references, depending on the programmer.

We can understand the argument in C/C++ very easily with an example.

#include <stdio.h>
 
// add: Function definition
int add(int a, int b)
{
    int ans= a + b;
    // Returning the addition
    return ans;
}
 
// Driver code
int main()
{
    int num1 = 10, num2 = 20, sum;
 
    // add() is called with
    // num1 & num2 as ARGUMENTS.
    sum = add(num1, num2);
 
    // Displaying the result
    printf("The sum is: %d", sum);
    return 0;
}


Output

The sum is: 30

 

You can try and compile with the help of online c++ compiler.
In the above code, main() is the driver function for the C program. This main() function calls our add() function by passing the actual values of two different variables, num1, and num2, as the arguments to the function. The function returns the sum of the two numbers in the main() function.

What is a Parameter in C/C++?

In C/C++ programming, parameters are placeholders defined in the function declaration. They act as variables to receive the actual values passed as arguments during function calls. Parameters are declared within the function's parentheses and listed in its definition, usually separated by commas.

We can understand parameter in C/C++ very easily with an example.

#include <stdio.h>
 
// add: Function definition
// Here, a and b are PARAMETERS
int add(int a, int b)
{
    int ans= a + b;
    // Returning the addition
    return ans;
}
 
// Driver code
int main()
{
    int num1 = 10, num2 = 20, sum;
 
    // add() is called with
    // num1 & num2 as ARGUMENTS.
    sum = add(num1, num2);
 
    // Displaying the result
    printf("The sum is: %d", sum);
    return 0;
}


Output

The sum is: 30

 

In the above code, the add() function takes two values, a, and b, declared within the parenthesis at the time of function declaration. These values are known as Parameters.

Major Difference between Argument and Parameter in C/C++

Now that we have learned about the arguments and parameters in detail with examples. We concluded that there exists a difference between argument and parameter. So, let’s see the major difference between the argument and the parameter in the below table.

PARAMETERS ARGUMENTS PARAMETERS
Definition Arguments are the actual values passed into the function during the function call. Parameters are not the actual values but the placeholders to which the actual values are passed during function declaration.
Other Names These are also known as actual parameters. These are also known as formal parameters.
Usage Arguments are often used during the function call. Parameters are often used during the function declaration.
Types Arguments are of two types majorly: Pass by value and Pass by reference. Parameters are of two types majorly: Call by value and Call by reference.
Allocation Each argument is always allocated to the parameter in the function declaration during the call. When the function is invoked, parameters are local variables that are assigned the values of the arguments.
Example

Example:

int main(){

      sum = add(num1, num2);

     // Here num1 and num2 are arguments.

}

Example:

// Here, a and b are parameters.

int add(int a, int b){

      return a+b;

}

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a parameter and an argument in a function?

The main difference between a parameter and an argument is that arguments are the actual values passed during the function call, while the parameter act as placeholders, defined in the function signature.

Are parameters also called arguments?

No, the parameters are not called the arguments. The arguments are the actual values passed during the function call, while the parameter is a variable defined in the function signature.

What is the difference between argument and parameter code?

The difference between argument and parameter is the scope. Parameters are local to the function as defined in the function signature itself while the argument is value passed down during the function call.

What is argument type and parameter type?

The data type of the value passed to a parameter when a function is called the argument type. On the other hand, the data type declared for a parameter in the function's signature is called the parameter type. Both must be matching to be invoked and executed correctly.

Conclusion

In this article, we saw the difference between argument and parameter is that parameters are variables defined at the time of function declaration while arguments are the actual values. We have also discussed how they are used in c++ and their declaration syntax.

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