May 21, 2024
What is a function in c programming

What is a function in c programming?

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Updated on 06.10.2021


What is a function in c programming?

A function is a self–carrying group of statements that carry out a logical job of any kind. A function is a group of statements to operate a specific job. Usually, the functions are categorized into standard functions and user-defined functions

The standard function is also known as the library function or built-in function. However, many applications require further functions according to their needs, those are known as user-defined functions. These functions are defined by the user in the code.

A function is familiar with many names such as a method or a sub-routine or a procedure, etc. Many languages permit you to make functions of some type. Functions are used to break down big programs into small named modules. So far, we have been using a function that is the main function. Functions are frequently used when the same block of statements has to be executed more than 1 time. 

What is the need for a function in c programming?

  1. Limiting the code accessibility.
  2. Reusing the code
  3. Finer readability
  4. Locking up the details
  5. Better debugging and testing
  6. Finer maintainability

Function definition:

It is the independent program section. It is put down to identify a specific task that is to be performed by the function. The initial statement of the function is known as function header and rest statements inside { } are called function body. 

What is function in c programming

The common form of function definition is as follows –

Return_type function_name(parameter list)


    Body of function;


Function declaration:

It describes the type of value that the function has to return and that is to be passed to the function. It is defined in the beginning before the function is called. 

Syntax – 

  • Return_type name_of_function(list of arguments)
  • For example – int addboth(int first, int second)

Function call:

A function can be called by identifying the name and list of arguments enclosed in parenthesis and separated by a comma. If there are no arguments, empty parenthesis is placed after the name of the function. Also, if the function returns a value, the function call is written as an assignment statement as: 

  • p= product(x,y);

Function arguments:

Arguments are also known as actual parameters. These are written inside the parenthesis while calling a function in main body. If a function is using arguments, then it must declare variables that take the values of the arguments at the time of function declaration. These variables are known as formal parameters of the function. 

Function parameters:

Parameters are also known as formal parameters. These are written inside the parenthesis while defining a function. Functions can take unlimited parameters. 

Types of a function call:

Call by value

In this method of function calling the original value of arguments from the main body is copied into the formal parameters which are used in the function body.

  • Moreover, the changes made to the parameters within the function do not affect arguments.
  • By default, programming language makes use of call by value to pass arguments. 

Call by reference

In call by reference, a function copies the address of an argument from the main of the code into a formal parameter which is created at the time of function definition or declaration.

  • Within the function, the address is use to access the original argument used in the call. 
  • Basically, the changes to the parameters affect the arguments that are pass. 

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