Difference Between C and C++

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

Both C and C++ are different programming languages. These programming languages appear to be similar but the difference between C and C++ is based on their features and usage. C and C++ are used in a wide range of applications, from a variety of development objectives, including game development, database system software, operating systems, GUI-based applications, and much more.

Difference Between C and C++ Download PDF

The difference between C and C++ is that C is a procedural programming language that lacks object and class support while C++ is a more advanced version of C that includes support for object-oriented programming. Here, we will discuss C, C++, and the difference between C and C++ in the upcoming sections.

Difference Between C and C++

The difference between C and C++ is that C is a procedural programming language that lacks object and class support whereas C++ is a more advanced version of C that includes support for object-oriented programming. More differences between C and C++ have been presented in the table given below.

We have provided the difference between C and C++ programming languages based on various parameters listed in the table below.



Polymorphism, encapsulation, and inheritance are not supported in C, hence object-oriented programming is not possible.

Because it is an object-oriented programming language, C++ provides polymorphism, encapsulation, and inheritance.

C contains 32 keywords.

C++ contains 63 keywords.

C is a subset of C++.

C++ is a superset of C.

A program written in the C programming language has a .c file extension.

A C++ program’s file extension is .cpp.

In C, data and functions are kept separate.

In C++, both data and functions are enclosed together.

Memory allocation is handled by the calloc() and malloc() routines.

For memory allocation, the new operator and free() are used.

C and C++

C and C++ are both programming languages that are widely used for developing software applications and system software. Both C and C++ are portable languages that can be compiled on different platforms. However, C++ has more complex syntax and features than C, which can make it harder to write portable code. Both languages have a similar syntax and code structure. Let us understand more about each language in detail.

Key Differences Between C and C++

The key differences between C and C++ are given below.

  • The C language is function-driven since procedural programming is used in it. On the other side, the C++ programming language is object-driven due to OOP (object-oriented programming).
  • C opposes the hiding of data and information whereas, through encapsulation, the C++ language hides the data.
  • Built-in data types are not supported by the C language. On the other hand, these data types are supported by the C++ language.

Similarity Between C and C++

Apart from the differences between C and C++, there are various other similarities between the two programming languages. The similarities between C and C++ are given below.

  • The syntax of the two languages is similar.
  • Both languages share the same code structure.
  • Both languages are constructed similarly.
  • They use the same fundamental syntax. The majority of the operators and keywords found in C are also found in C++ and perform the same functions.
  • Although the underlying grammar of C++ and C are the same, C++ has a significantly longer syntax.
  • Both have a basic memory model that closely resembles the hardware.

What is C Programming Language?

After discussing the difference between C and C++, let us check what is C language. C is a structured, general-purpose programming language that was created for system development work, i.e. programs that makeup operating systems. Because of its versatility, speed, and simplicity, it quickly became popular for a variety of application development projects.

The C programming language is a procedural or structural programming language. Dennis Ritchie of Bell Laboratories created it in 1972. This machine-independent programming language was created to allow utilities to operate on the Unix platform. It is now widely employed in a wide range of applications.

What is C++ Programming Language?

Bjarne Stroustrup of Bell Laboratories designed C++, a high-level computer programming language, in the early 1980s. It’s an expansion of the classic C programming language that adds object-oriented programming and other features.

C++ is a computer language that is similar to low-level languages and is regarded as one of the quickest. It gives you total control over memory management and allocation. C++ is a programming language that is used to create complicated, high-performance programs. Because C++ is similar to C and Java, programmers will find it easier to learn and use these languages.

C vs C++: Which to Choose?

When deciding between C and C++, it is important to consider the specific needs and requirements of the project. Here are some factors to consider when choosing between C and C++:

If your project requires object-oriented programming (OOP) features, such as encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism, then C++ is the better choice. C does not support OOP features natively.
C++ supports the reuse of code through inheritance, templates, and polymorphism. If your project requires code reusability, then C++ is a better choice.
C++ supports automatic memory management using the RAII (Resource Acquisition Is Initialization) technique, which makes it less error-prone than C. In C, memory management must be done manually using functions such as malloc() and free().
Both C and C++ are high-performance languages, but C is generally faster than C++. C++ has more features and abstractions than C, which can result in a slight performance overhead.
C is a simpler language than C++ and has a smaller syntax. If you are new to programming or have limited experience, then C might be a better choice.

Applications of C and C++ Programming Languages

C and C++ are used in a wide range of applications, including:

Application C C++
System software Widely used Widely used
Embedded systems Widely used Widely used
Game development Less common Widely used
Desktop applications Less common Widely used
Web applications Less common Widely used
Artificial Intelligence Less common Widely used
Networking Widely used Widely used
Security Widely used Widely used

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