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Difference Between C and C++

Learn about Difference Between C and C++

25 Jul 2021-9 mins read


C and C++ are programming languages that are used to create applications. C and C++ are two of the most widely used and oldest programming languages. Many modern languages have been built on the foundations of these languages. This article will explain the difference between C and C++. C++ is a superset of C since it was inspired by and derived from C. Some of the common differences between these languages C and C++ are :

  1. The fundamental distinction between the two languages is that classes and objects are not supported in the procedural programming language such as the C language.
  2. Language such as C++ is procedural as well as an object-oriented programming language and hence is called a combination of these two programming language techniques.
  3. Many features of object-oriented programming language such as inheritance, encapsulation are also not available in C language.
  4. C++ also supports some more primitive data types such as boolean and string which were not supported in C language.

Scope of article

This article would enhance our knowledge about the two most common programming languages, C and C++. Where are these languages used?

There are features and applications of these languages in the real-life or programming of different types of computer applications and even programming languages. Some topics we would go through in this article:

  1. What are C and C++ languages
  2. The difference between the C and C++ languages
  3. Which language would be best to start with for a beginner


C and C++ are two of the oldest programming languages still in use. Though C++ is a direct descendant of the C programming language, it has a higher level of efficiency and performance. Of course, each programming language has its own set of benefits and disadvantages.

The overview of the discussion about C vs C++ is that the C++ programming language is an upgraded version of the C programming language with the inclusion of object-oriented functionality.

What is C Programming Language?

What is C

C is a machine-independent computer language as these programs can be easily executed on several machines by making machine-specific changes and are widely utilized in a variety of applications. Dennis Ritchie, a legendary computer scientist, created the C programming language at Bell Laboratories in 1972. The C programming language was designed to allow utilities to run on the Unix operating system.

The C programming language is a general-purpose and high-level language that facilitates structured programming. C was later on chosen as a system development language because it generates code that executes almost as quickly as an assembly language code.

Because C programs are fast, they allow programmers to manually control computer hardware.

The performance of the C programming language is its strength, and it can be used to code for a wide range of platforms. Operating systems, interpreters, compilers, and microcontrollers are some of the systems that use C language for their internal programming.

What is C++ Programming Language?

What is CPP

C++ is a computer programming language that combines the features of C and Simula67 (the first object-oriented programming language). Class and Objects were introduced in C++.Bjarne Stroustrup designed it in 1985.

He, too, worked at AT&T Bell Labs and desired to make the C programming language more efficient and adaptable. C++ enters a domain where object-oriented programming is supported.

Object-oriented programming (OOPS) is made possible using C++. OOPS is a concept in programming in which we write programs based on the principle of real-world objects, like every object in the world has its own set of characteristics and functions to perform, similarly, object-oriented programming helps us to implement this approach through programming. OOPS has four basic principles as given below:

  1. Abstraction
  2. Encapsulation
  3. Inheritance
  4. Polymorphism

C++ has a low abstraction level and relies on manual memory management. The language is lightweight as compared to C programming language. C++ can be used to create apps for a number of different platforms.

The Differences Between C and C++

Serial No.Key of DistinctionC LanguageC++ Language
1Level of LanguageC language is a Medium Level LanguageC++ language is a High-Level Language
2Style of ProgrammingC language has a Procedural style of programming.C++ language has Procedural and Object-Oriented programming.
3ApproachC language follows a Top-Down programming approach.C++ language follows a bottom-up programming approach.
4File extensionThe file extension of a C program is .cThe file extension of a c+ + program language is.cpp
5Inline functionC language does not allow inline function.C++ language supports the inline function.
6Function OverloadingC language does not allow you to use function overloading.C++ language allows you to use function overloading.
7EncapsulationC language does not allow you to use encapsulation.C++ language allows you to use encapsulation.
8Data AbstractionC language has a low level of data abstraction.C++ language has a high level of data abstraction.
9Exception HandlingC language does not directly support exception handling.C++ language directly supports exception handling.
10Data typesString and Boolean data types are not declared in the C language. Built-in and primitive data types are supported.String and Boolean data types are supported in the C++ language
11RelationshipC is a subset of C++. It cannot run C++ code.All C language code can be easily run in the C++ as it is a superset of Language C.
12PolymorphismIn C, polymorphism is not possible.Polymorphism is a concept used in C++.
13InheritanceIn C, inheritance is not possible.Inheritance is a concept used in C++.
14Access ModifiersC structures don't have access modifiers.C ++ structures have access modifiers.
15Virtual and friend functionsVirtual and friend functions are not supported by C.Virtual and friend functions are supported by C++.
16Reference variablesReference variables are not supported by C.Reference variables are supported by C++.
17Driven type of languageC language is function-driven.C++ language is object-driven.
18Input and Output Functions usedC language mainly uses these 2 functions scanf() and printf() for input/output.C++ mainly uses stream cin and cout to perform input and output operations.
19NamespaceC does not provide the feature of the namespace.C++ supports the feature of the namespace.
20Memory AllocationFor dynamic memory allocation, C includes the malloc() and calloc() methods, as well as free() for memory de-allocation.Memory allocation has a new operator in C++, as does memory de-allocation, which has a delete operator.
21Header FileHeader file used by the C language is stdio.hHeader file used by C++ language is iostream.h

Applications of C

Some of the important applications of the C language are:

  1. C was ideal for OS development because it is still a programming language of choice. It allowed users complete control over the machine. For legacy programs, C language is a choice, and anything you learn in C will help you understand all other programming languages. Knowing C first makes it easier to learn other programs like Matlab.
  2. From scripting drivers to the high levels of scripting software applications, virtual functions, and machine code, C may be used for both high and low-level programming. Complex programs can be split down, allowing data to flow freely between different functions.
  3. C language can be used to create games, graphics, and programs that require calculations, among other things. You don't need access to C once you've written a program in C because it runs on its own. Its programs can be transferred from one device to another and don't require source code

Applications of C++

Some of the important applications of the C++ language are:

  1. C++ is utilized in applications that require advanced functionality and data security. It works well with tools that include a graphical user interface, such as Adobe Premiere, and its fast language makes it ideal for games and animation.
  2. C++ is also used by web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox, and it's flexible enough for designing database software to help businesses save time and money.
  3. C++ code is also used for media players and managing video files in a standard library. Operating systems are included with all of these applications. Because of its speed and flexibility, C++ is used in all of these applications.

The Advantages of C++ Over C Language

C++ has many advantages over language C, but C is still the most popular programming language and would remain to be in use in the near future as well.

Some of the advantages of C++ over C language are:

  1. The C++ standard has already been modified several times. The improvements aren't only about improving C++; they're also about updating features and creating new ones and changes with the requirements of the industry.
  2. C++ allows programmers to begin using object-oriented approaches while maintaining the ability to use legacy C code if necessary.
  3. Many features such as inheritance, encapsulation, function and operator overloading, exception handling, inline function, virtual and friend function, etc., are not supported in C language and are supported in C++ language. Therefore C++ is more advanced than C language.
  4. Only primitive predefined data types are supported in C. The boolean and string data types aren't included in this list. In C++, user-defined data types can be created alongside the same primitives as in C along with string and boolean datatypes which were not included in C.


Finally, let us address the most crucial question: why should someone learn C or C++ and what was the difference between C and C++, particularly an aspiring programmer?

  1. Many major programming languages and libraries, such as Python, Java, Javascript, Numpy, and others, are built on these languages.
  2. C or C++ is used to write web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and operating system kernels, as well as modern databases like MongoDB.
  3. Most importantly, C/C++ makes it simple for a beginner programmer to grasp complex computer science topics.
  4. C++ being an object-oriented programming language, supports the functionalities of inheritance, encapsulation, function and operator overloading, etc.