Difference Between C and C++ Language

The major difference between C and C++ is that, C is a procedural language whereas C++ is an extension of C which also supports object oriented programming paradigm.

Programming languages play a pivotal role in shaping the digital landscape, and among the stalwarts, C and C++ have stood the test of time. Both have roots in the C language, yet they have evolved differently, catering to diverse needs in the realm of software development.

Following table highlights the major differences between C and C++ programming languages.

Difference Between C and C++

C C++
C, born in the early 1970s at Bell Labs, emerged as a procedural programming language designed by Dennis Ritchie. It became a cornerstone in the development of operating systems, compilers, and various system-level software. C is renowned for its efficiency, simplicity, and close-to-hardware capabilities. C++, coined by Bjarne Stroustrup at Bell Labs in the late 1970s, is an extension of the C language. Initially dubbed "C with Classes," C++ introduces object-oriented programming (OOP) features, providing a higher level of abstraction and code organization. The relationship between C and C++ is akin to that of a parent and its evolved offspring.
C is a procedural programming language, emphasizing step-by-step procedures or routines. It follows a top-down approach, where the program is structured as a series of functions or procedures, each performing a specific task. While modular, C lacks the formal support for encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism associated with OOP. C++ embraces multiple programming paradigms, making it more versatile. While retaining procedural features from C, C++ introduces the richness of object-oriented programming. Developers can leverage classes and objects, encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism to create more modular and reusable code.
C programs are structured using functions. The code is typically organized in a series of functions, and the execution begins with the main function. Data and functions are separate entities, and C lacks the concept of classes. C++ introduces the concept of classes, allowing developers to structure code in a more organized and modular fashion. A C++ program may include classes, each encapsulating data and behavior, leading to a more object-oriented approach.
Memory management in C is manual and explicit. The programmer is responsible for allocating and deallocating memory using functions like malloc and free. While this provides fine-grained control, it also increases the likelihood of memory-related errors. C++ retains manual memory management but introduces additional features to simplify it. The introduction of constructors and destructors, along with concepts like new and delete operators, enhances memory management while reducing the risk of memory leaks.
C is not inherently object-oriented. It lacks features like classes, objects, and inheritance. The focus is on procedural programming, and data and functions are separate entities. C++ is a robust object-oriented programming language. It supports the creation of classes and objects, allowing for encapsulation of data and behavior. Inheritance and polymorphism enable the development of more modular and extensible software systems.
C does not support function overloading. Functions in C must have unique names, and overloading, where multiple functions share the same name but have different parameter lists, is not permitted. C++ allows function overloading, enabling the definition of multiple functions with the same name but different parameter lists. This enhances code readability and flexibility, allowing developers to create functions tailored to specific data types or scenarios.
C does not support operator overloading. Each operator has a predefined meaning, and their behavior cannot be modified for user-defined types. C++ supports operator overloading, enabling developers to define custom behaviors for operators when used with user-defined types. This feature enhances the expressiveness of C++ code, making it more intuitive and concise.
C does not have a standardized template library. Developers need to implement data structures and algorithms from scratch or use external libraries. C++ comes equipped with the Standard Template Library (STL), a collection of generic classes and functions. The STL provides ready-made containers (vectors, lists, etc.) and algorithms, reducing development time and promoting code reuse.
File handling in C involves using functions like fopen, fwrite, fread, etc. The approach is more procedural, and developers must explicitly manage file pointers. C++ simplifies file handling with the introduction of file stream classes. The ifstream, ofstream, and fstream classes provide a more object-oriented and convenient way to work with files.
Error handling in C often involves using return codes or global variables to indicate error states. This can lead to less readable and maintainable code. C++ introduces exception handling mechanisms with try, catch, and throw. This allows developers to write more robust and readable code by separating error-handling logic from the main flow.
In C, Exception Handling is not present. In C++, Exception Handling is done with Try and Catch block.
C remains a prevalent language, especially in system-level programming, embedded systems, and tasks requiring low-level control. It is the foundation for many operating systems and has a strong legacy in the programming world. C++ finds extensive use in a variety of domains, including game development, application software, and complex system programming. Its versatility, coupled with object-oriented features, makes it a popular choice for building large-scale software projects.


In conclusion, while C and C++ share a common ancestry, they cater to different programming paradigms and use cases. C is a procedural language renowned for its efficiency and low-level control, making it indispensable in system-level programming. On the other hand, C++ builds upon C, introducing object-oriented features that enhance code organization, reusability, and abstraction.

Choosing between C and C++ depends on the specific requirements of a project. If low-level control and efficiency are paramount, C may be the preferred choice. For projects where an object-oriented approach, code modularity, and a feature-rich standard library are essential, C++ proves to be a robust solution.

Understanding the differences between C and C++ empowers developers to make informed decisions based on the nature of their projects and the desired programming paradigm. Both languages continue to play pivotal roles in the ever-evolving landscape of software development, each contributing its unique strengths to the world of coding.