4 Differences between C and C++

Categories C/C++

C vs. C++: Introduce the four differences between C and C++

This article explains the four differences between C and C++.

C language

C is a compiled general-purpose programming language.

Released in 1972, it is an old programming language that requires source code to be compiled for program execution.

C is characterized by its high processing speed and is used to develop embedded systems and hardware and server programs.


C++ is an object-oriented programming language that extends the C programming language.

The C++ programming language was developed in 1983 to extend the functionality of the C language and add object orientation for more efficient programming.

And because it is compatible with C, it can be used simultaneously with C. Therefore, C and C++ are often used together in software development.

Four differences between C and C++

What are the differences between C and C++?

Although C and C++, an extension of C, are brotherly programming languages, they are not the same and have many differences.

Here are four differences between C and C++ that you may find useful:

Language Structure

The language structure of C is esoteric, but C++ is more complex.

C is closer to the machine language used by computers than to the language used by humans, and the language structure itself is not very easy to read. As a result, it is said to be more difficult to learn.

However, C++ has a much more complex language structure, and many people, even those who have mastered C, which is not a simple language, are confused when learning C++ for the first time.


Unlike the C language, C++ has classes.

C language did not have the concept of classes and used a function called "struct" to define data structures; by using struct, you can define your own data.

C++, on the other hand, has a new function called a "class" for defining a class, which can be further defined on top of a C struct.

Generic programming

Unlike C, C++ allows for generic programming.

Generic programming is a programming technique that allows abstract and generic coding independent of concrete data types.

C++ supports functions, classes, and variables through templates, enabling generic programming that allows code to be written without being bound by data types.

Exception handling

Unlike C, C++ allows exception handling.

In C, the error is often detected by setting the return value to NULL or a specific number.

On the other hand, C++ implements a function called exception as a method of error detection, so it is much easier to detect errors by exception handling.

Three characteristics of the C language

The following is an introduction to the features of the C language:

So far, we have focused on the difference between C language and C++, but what are the characteristics of C language in the first place?

Here, I will introduce three features of the C language, so please refer to what kind of features it has.

Fast processing speed

C is a language with strengths in processing speed.

Since C language is programmed using a language similar to that of a computer, it is extremely compact and has a fast program execution speed.

In addition, C language is a compiled language; and all the source code is compiled once by the translator when the program is executed, so the processing execution speed is faster than the interpreted language.

Long history

The C language has a history of nearly 50 years since its birth in 1972.

C is a language with a long history, created in the early days when computers were first introduced to the world and used in a wide variety of development fields. As a result, it has a very large number of achievements and has influenced many programming languages in use today.

It also spawned C++, which is also discussed in this article, and C#, which has the advantages of C++, Java, and other C-based derivatives.

Commonly used for operating systems and embedded systems

C is a language used for creating operating systems and developing embedded systems.

Operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux can be developed in C. 

C is used to develop the macOSX and the Linux kernel.

It is also used in the development of embedded software for controlling hardware programs, and the C language has been incorporated into programs for robots and home appliances.

Three characteristics of C++

Here are some of the features of C++:

Although I have introduced the features of the C language, C++ is a language with a variety of features that differ from C. 

Here, I will introduce three features of C++, so please refer to them to see what kind of functions it has.

A programming language developed as an extension of C

C++ was originally created as an extension of the C language.

C ++ was developed in 1983 as an extension of the C programming language and can make computers run at high speeds.

It also has a newly added object-oriented feature that allows for more efficient programming than the C language.


C++ is an object-oriented language.

Object orientation is a method of thinking of a program in terms of operations to create objects rather than procedures. 

It is characterized by preparing multiple objects and roles and operating the computer as if assembling objects.

Object-oriented programming is also used in applications for smartphones, games, and even robot development, making object-oriented programming the mainstream of programming today.

Compatible with C

C++ is also compatible with the C language and can be used simultaneously.

C++ was developed as an extension of the C language and is therefore compatible with C. Thus, anything that can be executed in C can also be executed in C++. Both C and C ++ can be used simultaneously for software development.

In addition, programs developed in C can be migrated to C++ and can be used flexibly in combination with C.


C++ is a language developed by extending the functionality of C, but it differs from C in many ways.

However, both languages are widely used in software development and are in high demand.

I encourage you to deepen your understanding of the C programming language by referring to the overview of C and C++, the four differences between C and C++, and the features of each C language and C++ introduced in this article.

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