Difference Between Argument and Parameter | Argument VS Parameter

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Arguments and parameters are commonly used in various programming languages. But there is a difference between argument and parameter in C. Arguments are actual values passed in during the function call. Parameters are placeholders to which the values of arguments are passed, or they are used to receive the arguments passed during a function call.

The difference between argument and parameter is that the actual value(s) specified during the function call is the arguments whereas the values of arguments are provided to placeholders known as parameters. In this article, we dive further to see the difference between Argument and parameter in C programming language along with the functionality of the argument and parameter individually that is followed in the article.

Difference Between Argument and Parameter PDF

Difference Between Argument and Parameter

We can provide specific inputs when creating functions in order to process the function’s instructions. The phrases arguments and parameters are usually used interchangeably in this context to refer to these inputs. Let us check the difference between Argument and Parameter.

Argument vs Parameter



Arguments are also known as Actual Parameters.

Parameters are also called Formal Parameters

Each argument is always assigned to the parameter in the function definition during the call.

When the function is called, parameters are local variables that are assigned the values of the arguments.

When a function is invoked, the values passed during the call are referred to as arguments.

The values defined at the time of the function prototype or definition are referred to as parameters.

In a function call statement, these are used to send data from the calling function to the receiving function.

These are used in the called function’s function header to receive the value from the arguments.

What is Argument?

Firstly we discuss the argument in C and then see the difference between Argument and Parameter in C. Arguments are variables in C that are used to pass values. In the C program, we use functions to reduce code complexity and improve readability. We write some user-defined functions so that we can reuse the code.

When we write a function, we can pass data to the calling function as an argument. The passing data can be an integer, a floating-point value, or something else. Data can also be passed to other functions in the form of arrays or strings.

What is Parameter?

Firstly we discuss the parameter in C and then see the difference between Argument and Parameter in C. The variables defined during a function declaration or definition are referred to as parameters. These variables are used to hold the arguments passed to a function call.

These parameters in the function prototype are used during the execution of the defined function. These are also known as Formal Parameters or Formal Arguments. A parameter is defined by its name, data type, and calling mechanism (call by reference or call by value).

Key Differences Between Argument and Parameter

The key differences between argument and parameter are given below.

  • The argument is known as actual parameter whereas parameter is known as formal parameter.
  • When executing the function, arguments are used. During the function declaration, parameters are used.
  • The real value of this variable is what is supplied to the function as an argument. However, in the function’s declaration, a parameter is a variable.
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