for-loop and++i in - What is the difference between ++i and i++?

10 Answers

i++ is known as Post Increment whereas ++i is called Pre Increment.


i++ is post increment because it increments i's value by 1 after the operation is over.

Lets see the following example:

int i = 1, j;
j = i++;

Here value of j = 1 but i = 2. Here value of i will be assigned to j first then i will be incremented.


++i is pre increment because it increments i's value by 1 before the operation. It means j = i; will execute after i++.

Lets see the following example:

int i = 1, j;
j = ++i;

Here value of j = 2 but i = 2. Here value of i will be assigned to j after the i incremention of i. Similarly ++i will be executed before j=i;.

For your question which should be used in the incrementation block of a for loop? the answer is, you can use any one.. doesn't matter. It will execute your for loop same no. of times.

for(i=0; i<5; i++)
   printf("%d ",i);


for(i=0; i<5; ++i)
   printf("%d ",i);

Both the loops will produce same output. ie 0 1 2 3 4.

It only matters where you are using it.

for(i = 0; i<5;)
    printf("%d ",++i);

In this case output will be 1 2 3 4 5.

with example c#

In C, what is the difference between using ++i and i++, and which should be used in the incrementation block of a for loop?

++i increments the value, then returns it.

i++ returns the value, and then increments it.

It's a subtle difference.

For a for loop, use ++i, as it's slightly faster. i++ will create an extra copy that just gets thrown away.

The reason ++i can be slightly faster than i++ is that i++ can require a local copy of the value of i before it gets incremented, while ++i never does. In some cases, some compilers will optimize it away if possible... but it's not always possible, and not all compilers do this.

I try not to rely too much on compilers optimizations, so I'd follow Ryan Fox's advice: when I can use both, I use ++i.

They both increment the number. ++i is equivalent to i = i + 1.

i++ and ++i are very similar but not exactly the same. Both increment the number, but ++i increments the number before the current expression is evaluted, whereas i++ increments the number after the expression is evaluated.

Example :

int i = 1;
int x = i++; //x is 1, i is 2
int y = ++i; //y is 3, i is 3

++i (Prefix operation): Increments and then assigns the value
(eg) : int i = 5 , int b = ++i
In this case, 6 is assigned to b first and then increments to 7 and so on.

i++ (Postfix operation): Assigns and then increments the value
(eg) : int i = 5 , int b = i++
In this case, 5 is assigned to b first and then increments to 6 and so on.

Incase of for loop : i++ is mostly used because, normally we use the starting value of i before incrementing in for loop.But depending on your program logic it may vary.

The difference can be understood by this simple C++ code below:

int i, j, k, l;
i = 1; //initialize int i with 1
j = i+1; //add 1 with i and set that as the value of j. i is still 1
k = i++; //k gets the current value of i, after that i is incremented. So here i is 2, but k is 1
l = ++i; // i is incremented first and then returned. So the value of i is 3 and so does l.
cout << i << ' ' << j << ' ' << k << ' '<< l << endl;
return 0;

Shortly : ++i and i++ works same if you are not writing them in a function. If you use something like function(i++) or function(++i) you can see the difference.

function(++i) says first increment i by 1, after that put this i into the function with new value.

function(i++) says put first i into the function after that increment i by 1.

int i=4;
printf("%d\n",pow(++i,2));//it prints 25 and i is 5 now
printf("%d",pow(i++,2));//it prints 16 i is 5 now

The following C code fragment illustrates the difference between the pre and post increment and decrement operators:

int i; int j;

// Increment operators

i = 1;

j = ++i; // i is now 2, j is also 2

j = i++; // i is now 3, j is 2

You can think of internal conversion of that as a multiple statements;

// case 1 :


/* you can think as,
 * i;
 * i= i+1;

// case 2


/* you can think as,
 * i = i+i;
 * i;

Here is the example to understand the difference

int i=10;
printf("%d %d",i++,++i);

output: 10 12/11 11 (depending on the order of evaluation of arguments to the printf function, which varies across compilers and architectures)

Explanation: i++->i is printed, and then increments. (Prints 10, but i will become 11) ++i->i value increments and prints the value. (Prints 12, and the value of i also 12)