10 Major Differences Between C And C++


In the realm of programming, understanding the myriad languages available and their distinct characteristics is crucial. Two such languages at the forefront are C and C++. While they may seem similar, and indeed C++ is an extension of C, there are significant differences that could impact your decision on which one to use. This blog will delve into the 10 major differences between these two influential programming languages, in order to help you make an informed choice for your next coding project. Stay tuned as we navigate the nuances and intricacies of C and C++.

In this blog, we’ll embark on a journey to explore C and C++, two stalwarts of the programming world. We will delve into their unique attributes, dissecting their differences over ten major points. These points will cover aspects such as language complexity, memory management, performance, and object-oriented programming, among others. Our aim is to provide you, our reader, with a comprehensive understanding that will aid in choosing the right tool for your coding endeavors. So, let’s dive in and unravel the technical tapestry woven by these two seminal programming languages.

Memory ManagementYou need to manage memory manuallyProvides numerous features that abstract memory management
Built-in Data TypesOnly supports built-in primitive data typesSupports both built-in and user-defined data types
PolymorphismC does not support polymorphism, a feature that allows a task to be performed in different waysC++ supports both compile and run-time polymorphism
Exception HandlingDoes not support exception handlingC++ provides direct support for exception handling
Use of FunctionsNot possible for functions to be used inside structuresC++ allows for functions to be used inside structures
EncapsulationDoes not support encapsulationC++ supports the concept of encapsulation, which is a process of wrapping the data and functions together as a single unit
Procedural vs Object-OrientedC is a procedural language, focusing on functions and procedures.C++ is an object-oriented programming language
SecurityC provides a lower level of security. Its extensive use of pointers and lack of built-in security mechanisms make it more susceptible to security issues such as buffer overflows and memory leaks.Encapsulation adds an extra layer of security to the data
Namespace featureC does not have a namespace mechanismC++ includes the concept of namespaces. It allows operator overloading
Reference VariablesC has pointers instead of referenceC++ supports reference variables


C Language & Its History

Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie–1973
Unknown author

The C programming language is a structured, procedural language developed in the early 1970s at Bell Laboratories (also known as Bell Labs) by Dennis Ritchie. It was created as a tool for writing an operating system, specifically UNIX. C quickly gained popularity due to its efficiency, flexibility, and wide array of uses. Its syntax forms the basis of many modern programming languages, including C++, C#, Objective-C, and Java.

The design of C was influenced by the B language (a simplified version of BCPL), but C brought a significant novelty: it combined the features of high-level languages with the ability to write assembly language code. This unique blend allowed programmers to write efficient code that was also easy to understand and maintain. Over the decades, the C language has evolved, with the most notable version being C11, but its influence is still prominent in the field of computer science.

History of C++

Photo of Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of the programming language C++.

C++, a direct descendant of C, was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup at Bell Labs during the early 1980s as an enhancement to the C language. Stroustrup’s main motivation was to add object-oriented programming into the C language, culminating in the creation of a new language called “C with Classes”. This was later renamed to C++ in 1983, with the ‘++’ symbolizing the incremental enhancement from the C language.

The addition of classes allowed for the encapsulation of data and functions into a single entity, revolutionizing the way programming was done by introducing the concept of objects and classes. With its rich library support and the ability to overload functions and operators, C++ further expanded the potential of what could be achieved in coding.

The first commercial release of the language happened in 1985 with the release of C++ 1.0, and its evolution has continued ever since. The most recent version, C++20, has seen the language evolve far beyond its origins, boasting features such as modules, concepts, coroutines, and many additions to the standard library. While it is more complex to learn than C, C++’s flexibility and power have made it a popular choice for software development, game development, and system programming.

C vs C++ in 2023

Photo by Fotis Fotopoulos on Unsplash

In 2023, the distinction and relevance of both C and C++ in the programming world remain crucial. C, known for its efficiency and control, continues to be the preferred language for system programming and embedded systems. Its efficiency and compactness make it highly suitable for low-level programming, where resources are limited. On the other hand, C++ continues to dominate in areas requiring high-level abstractions without compromising performance. With its object-oriented features, rich standard library, and flexibility, it is widely used in game development, real-time systems, and software requiring high performance. Notably, the evolution of C++ hasn’t slowed down, with continual enhancements and modern features being added, keeping it relevant and powerful. As such, both languages have carved their unique niches, underlining the premise that the choice between C and C++ is often dictated by the specific requirements and constraints of the project at hand.


In conclusion, the choice between C and C++ is not a matter of one language being universally better than the other. Instead, it comes down to the specific requirements, constraints, and goals of the project. For system programming and embedded systems where resources are limited, C’s efficiency and compactness shine. In contrast, for projects demanding high-level abstractions without sacrificing performance — like game development and real-time systems — C++’s object-oriented features, rich standard library, and continual enhancements make it the ideal choice. Thus, understanding the major differences between these two influential languages is crucial for programmers and developers, guiding them in selecting the right tool for their specific needs. Both C and C++, with their unique strengths, continue to hold significant places in the landscape of programming languages.

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  1. Pingback: Top 10 Software Languages You Must Know | Connect2Compute

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  3. Very good article. However, I would have to argue that C is not a low-level, but in fact a high-level programming language. High-level is close to what humans interpret, and low-level would be more or less machine language, such as assembly.

  4. helllo……. thanx for this information ….it has a clear differences between the c n c++ in a simple lang……

  5. Hey guyz..
    i’m a IT student n m now a dayz learning C language..
    i’ve learnt C++ first in high school.. Now, I feel C language is tougher than C++..
    this article helps me lil’.. But I need more difference in C n C++…
    can anyone show me the format of C?? How in C header files r written n how program is closed.. N is there void main in C??

    • C is easier (esp. after I learn about java, they’re twin! Without the pointer CMW). C++ much more complex with many feature addition.

  6. Hi,
    Im studenting electronic engneering(control) at tabriz university.which programming language is suittble for me?
    and how can i learn it?


    hi ,friends this is shrinivas i have so much intresting inlearning linux and c++ i am studying in 4 sem and especially animination is one of the my intresting topic


  8. Here c is mentioned as low-level and C++ as Middle level…but both c and c++ are High level as they completely using all high level features….

    • High level or low level doesn’t related to functions. It depends on the level of abstrction, in c the level of abstraction is low as compare to cplus

  9. C++ is not a strict superset of C, ithere are some minor differences i.e. code that will compile in c but won’t compile in c++ such as void pointer casts. Function overloading is supported by C. 2 variables can point to the same memory location, ever heard of pointers? Talk of ‘level’ of languages is unjustified and there is no ‘mixed opinion’, there are high and low level languages i.e machine code/assembly (low) and 3rd generation onwards (high level). The word for “data hiding” you’re looking for is “encapsulation” and is part of the OOP paradigm and you already explained the paradigm difference, so it is a moot point. Please learn what you’re talking about before posting an article. .

  10. srinivasa rao chevala on

    C lamgauge is supporting the functional overloading. in a single program u r using no of printf and scanf functions, those are taking different values

  11. You’re not shifting bits into and from std::cout and std::cin. ‘<>’ are overloaded, they aren’t shifting operators in the case of ::cout and std::cin. Please fix that.

  12. Hi friends,

    I am working as a trainer in networking and system administration and I am so much interested in learning Linux in deep, especially Linux Kernel. Can anyone tell which language Linux kernel is written? Someone is saying it is Assembly Level coding and some other are saying it is pure C programming language. If I have a good understanding of C Language, can I able to understand the Linux Kernel coding? (Of-course with the help of some Linux guru or by reading comments) ?

    Thanks a lot for this great site.


  13. According to Yashwant Kanetkar C is a middle level language but above according to the Point 3-C is low level language I think this is wrong not correct mostly we consider low level language is Machine language not C

  14. rahul_bhadauria on

    thats good from technical side but not good from layman side
    overall its good
    plz make it more simpler by utting some code examples

    • low: machine level;
      middle: supports both low and high level
      high: can interpret the meaning like ordinary language

    • Low level is Machine Language and Middle level language is C language in which some feature contributes of low level language

  15. Heeey woww it was easy to understand coz it not only has the difference but
    also the meaning for it.. wowwwww realli useful info :) thank you soo much.. :)

  16. sir! tell me what is the difference of java to many other languages…..
    and now I am feeling good because I got my ans……………

  17. radhika bhagchandani on

    thanx a lot….. thanx a tonnes actually… tomorrow i hav an interview and was needing dis differnce urgenty:))))))

  18. Really,it’s so good to read.In c global variables are changing why?,what is the use of static and constant in c&c++?.difference between arguments&parameters?

  19. Thanks for giving basic differences b/w c and c++..I need to know why pointers concept is not supported in c++???

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  21. 1 point i want to tell that
    in C we use #include as inclusion file but
    in C++ we use #include as inclusion file.

  22. prathamesh :

    hey rishabh i m not able to handle the pointers and all the pointers stuff so can u tell me wer shuld i refer for the basics of pointers ????????

    & also tell me which book is best to refer for c& c++ programming w8ng for your reply …

    Hello! You can start with this post on the basics of pointers :
    Refer to a good programming book to learn the basics. I recommend “The C Programming Language” by Brian Kernighan & Dennis Ritchie to clear your basics. Once you are good in C, then move to C++.

  23. hey rishabh i m not able to handle the pointers and all the pointers stuff so can u tell me wer shuld i refer for the basics of pointers ????????

    & also tell me which book is best to refer for c& c++ programming w8ng for your reply …

  24. Limitation of C

    (1) Inability to express large program as an abstraction
    (2) Unsuited for very large scale programming
    (3) No Mechanism for information reuse with little modification [Team Contribution & Correction due to error is difficult]
    (4) Can only identify Errors & cannot handle Exceptions
    (5) C++ is Multi-paradigm language
    (6) Features like Data Hiding, Polymorphism, Inheritance are not available

  25. You can use multiple variables(pointers) to point into a single memory location in C. You use it especially when implementing linked lists.

  26. Hey Rishabh,
    I am new to C/C++ environment. Can you tell me the difference between the C/C++ IDEs/Compilers also what if I use C++ to compile code for C and vice versa? What difference will it make ?

  27. jinendra khane on

    thanx…4 there r again many diffrances remains like in c++ default main is int type while in c its void.

  28. Mitchell :
    You can use functions inside of structs in C via pointers, but I supposed that’s not what you really mean, it just sounds slightly misleading to me.
    Also, cin and cout are part of the std namespace, and they’re not functions. They’re almost like “pipes” in a sense. What you’re doing is essentially bit shifting (<> are bit shift operators) data into and out of them. As well, C++ still supports use of printf and scanf, so your std.cin and std.cout are by no means exclusive in their duties.
    All in all a good article, just a couple nitpicks.

    You are not bit shifting. Bit shifting changes values it does not move variables.

    The operators are overloaded and called “insertion operators” in the iostream context. I’m not sure if you just wanted to seem smart or simply have a poor mental model but you are wrong and now everybody who read your addendum is also misinformed.<</

  29. hiii can you please tell me the difference between while and for loop.why we use this both when they are peforming the same task and also where to use while and where to use for loop

  30. In 7., what does “functions insides structures” actually mean? I mean, I can use function pointers inside of structs perfectly fine. Do you mean functions that can access the structs data automatically?

    I also don’t get 10.
    When I do

    int a = 4;
    int *b = &a;

    isn’t this what you described as “using the same memory by different names”?

  31. Hehhh can yu please provide me the complete information with explanation on the main OOPS principles..please ya
    And the above information is perfct..thank yu ya..

  32. Thanx……boss.. this difference is very easy to store on my mind, its never forget to me.. short answers nice keep it up boss… and also keep this typ of answers always it will help full for me

  33. shuhaibvalapuram on

    12.Main doesn’t Provide return 0 Automatically in c,but in c++ it is..
    13.No Boolean type in C,but it is present in c++
    14.We must declare functions before use in c++,but c does’t require it.
    15.presence of keyword ‘new’ instead malloc in c

  34. Alex D :

    Wait so can I learn C first and then move on to C++… will that work? Because I have started watching video tutorials about C and I am learning a lot but will I be able to do those things in C++?
    Please reply!

    That’s the only way it works. I hate to call C a “programming language”. It is more like a “programming prerequisite”. C is to programming what Algebra is to Calculus.

  35. Wait so can I learn C first and then move on to C++… will that work? Because I have started watching video tutorials about C and I am learning a lot but will I be able to do those things in C++?
    Please reply!

  36. You can use functions inside of structs in C via pointers, but I supposed that’s not what you really mean, it just sounds slightly misleading to me.

    Also, cin and cout are part of the std namespace, and they’re not functions. They’re almost like “pipes” in a sense. What you’re doing is essentially bit shifting (<> are bit shift operators) data into and out of them. As well, C++ still supports use of printf and scanf, so your std.cin and std.cout are by no means exclusive in their duties.

    All in all a good article, just a couple nitpicks.

  37. C is not a client server model while C++ is a client server model. C++ can solve the real world problems while C can’t. These are also the differences.

  38. Pingback: Advantage of C over C++ ..!

  39. Point number 3 is totally wrong bcz c is middle level language and c++ is high level language.
    so plz correct it.

  40. anita s karamudi on

    good points i got and one more suggestion is….

    c support 32 key words and c++ support 42 key words

  41. Nitin Sharma on

    My village is Himayoupur (G.B.Nagar). But at this time i am living in ghaziabad finally i will say notes are very helpful for self study and extra knowledge about everything.So for this facility i will thanks to internet service provider and notes provider.

  42. Very good my friend…
    There is one more difference that C don’t have ++ like C++….
    Joking man

  43. Just thought of another. Actually, this is a side-effect of not having classes, but dynamic allocation in C uses only malloc() and free(), since there is no concept of a constructor or destructor.

  44. Not a complete list. A couple of other differences:

    C allows void* to be assigned to another type with no warnings.
    C requires the struct keyword when defining a variable of a struct type. C++ automatically “typedefs” structs.
    C has no operator overloading.
    You can omit the return in main() in C.

    There are some others, but it’s been a while since I used C.

  45. Thanks a lot Sir!!!
    Its really a very basic thing in software empire.
    One can not point out such smaller but major differences.
    You gave us it as ready made.
    Thanks a lot once again!!!

    • @praveen – I agree there are always mixed opinions about this one. Some even like to call it a high-level language. But there’s really no determining factor behind the level of a programming language. Essentially, we’re making all the changes at the machine level, right? Now, as we increase the abstraction and move away from the machine-level, the level of the language increases. So, the level is nothing but the level of abstraction. So, most of the languages we use in applications today will have aspects of both machine-level and user-level. The two levels are machine-level & user(real world)-level while high & low levels are relative terms. Although, C is on a lower level of abstraction “relatively”- when compared to C++. Hence, referred to here as low-level.

  46. thank you ….dis is really very helpful ,as all the differences have been explained with clarity,and covers all the important aspect………

  47. Thanks for your cooperation for providing me such a great help coz 2morrow is my exam n i need it n i got it……….
    Thanking you.

  48. Really Awesome … Thanks a lot boss u made my engineering worth …At last i came to know the basic difference between these two………………………thanks

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