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Increment/decrement operators

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Increment/decrement operators increments or decrements the value of the object.

Operator name Syntax Over​load​able Prototype examples (for class T)
Inside class definition Outside class definition
pre-increment ++a Yes T& T::operator++(); T& operator++(T& a);
pre-decrement --a Yes T& T::operator--(); T& operator--(T& a);
post-increment a++ Yes T T::operator++(int); T operator++(T& a, int);
post-decrement a-- Yes T T::operator--(int); T operator--(T& a, int);
Notes
  • Prefix forms of the built-in operators return references and postfix forms return values, and typical user-defined overloads follow the pattern so that the user-defined operators can be used in the same manner as the built-ins. However, in a user-defined operator overload, any type can be used as return type (including void).
  • The int parameter is a dummy parameter used to differentiate between pre- and post- in versions of the operators. When the user-defined postfix operator is called, the value passed in that parameter is always zero, although it may be changed by calling the operator using function call notation, e.g. a.operator++(2).

Contents

[edit] Explanation

pre-increment and pre-decrement operators increments or decrements the value of the object and returns a reference to the result.

post-increment and post-decrement creates a copy of the object, increments or decrements the value of the object and returns the copy from before the increment or decrement.

[edit] Built-in prefix operators

For every optionally volatile-qualified arithmetic type A other than bool, and for every optionally volatile-qualified pointer P to optionally cv-qualified object type, the following function signatures participate in overload resolution:

A& operator++(A&)
bool& operator++(bool&)
(deprecated)
P& operator++(P&)
A& operator--(A&)
P& operator--(P&)

The operand of a built-in prefix increment or decrement operator must be a modifiable (non-const) lvalue of non-boolean arithmetic type or pointer to complete object type. For these operands, the expression ++x is exactly equivalent to x+=1, and the expression --x is exactly equivalent to x-=1, that is, the result is the updated operand, returned as lvalue, and all arithmetic conversion rules and pointer arithmetic rules defined for arithmetic operators apply.

If the operand of the preincrement operator is of type bool, it is set to true (deprecated).

[edit] Built-in postfix operators

For every optionally volatile-qualified arithmetic type A other than bool, and for every optionally volatile-qualified pointer P to optionally cv-qualified object type, the following function signatures participate in overload resolution:

A operator++(A&, int)
bool operator++(bool&, int)
(deprecated)
P operator++(P&, int)
A operator--(A&, int)
P operator--(P&, int)

The operand of a built-in postfix increment or decrement operator must be a modifiable (non-const) lvalue of non-boolean arithmetic type or pointer to complete object type. The result is a prvalue, which is a copy the original value of the operand. As a side-effect, this operator modifies the value of its argument arg as if by evaluating arg += 1 or arg -= 1, for increment and decrement respectively. All arithmetic conversion rules and pointer arithmetic rules defined for arithmetic operators apply.

If the operand of the postincrement operator is of type bool, it is set to true (deprecated).

[edit] Example

#include <iostream>
int main()
{
    int n = 1;
    int n2 = ++n;
    int n3 = ++ ++n;
    int n4 = n++;
//    int n5 = n++ ++; // compile error
//    int n5 = n + ++n; // undefined behavior
    std::cout << "n = " << n << '\n'
              << "n2 = " << n2 << '\n'
              << "n3 = " << n3 << '\n'
              << "n4 = " << n4 << '\n';
}

Output:

n = 5
n2 = 2
n3 = 4
n4 = 4

[edit] Notes

Because of the side-effects involved, built-in increment and decrement operators must be used with care to avoid undefined behavior due to violations of sequencing rules.

Because a temporary copy of the object is constructed during the operation, pre-increment or pre-decrement operators are usually more efficient in contexts where the returned value is not used.

[edit] Standard library

Increment and decrement operators are overloaded for many standard library types. In particular, every Iterator overloads operator++ and every BidirectionalIterator overloads operator--, even if those operators are no-ops for the particular iterator.

overloads for arithmetic types
increments or decrements the atomic value by one
(public member function of std::atomic) [edit]
increments or decrements the tick count
(public member function of std::chrono::duration) [edit]
overloads for iterator types
advances the iterator
(public member function of std::raw_storage_iterator) [edit]
advances or decrements the iterator
(public member function of std::reverse_iterator) [edit]
advances or decrements the iterator
(public member function of std::move_iterator) [edit]
no-op
(public member function of std::front_insert_iterator) [edit]
no-op
(public member function of std::back_insert_iterator) [edit]
no-op
(public member function of std::insert_iterator) [edit]
advances the iterator
(public member function of std::istream_iterator) [edit]
no-op
(public member function of std::ostream_iterator) [edit]
advances the iterator
(public member function of std::istreambuf_iterator) [edit]
no-op
(public member function of std::ostreambuf_iterator) [edit]
advances the iterator to the next match
(public member function of std::regex_iterator) [edit]
advances the iterator to the next submatch
(public member function of std::regex_token_iterator) [edit]

[edit] See also

Operator precedence

Common operators
assignment increment
decrement
arithmetic logical comparison member
access
other

a = b
a += b
a -= b
a *= b
a /= b
a %= b
a &= b
a |= b
a ^= b
a <<= b
a >>= b

++a
--a
a++
a--

+a
-a
a + b
a - b
a * b
a / b
a % b
~a
a & b
a | b
a ^ b
a << b
a >> b

!a
a && b
a || b

a == b
a != b
a < b
a > b
a <= b
a >= b

a[b]
*a
&a
a->b
a.b
a->*b
a.*b

a(...)
a, b
(type) a
? :

Special operators

static_cast converts one type to another compatible type
dynamic_cast converts virtual base class to derived class
const_cast converts type to compatible type with different cv qualifiers
reinterpret_cast converts type to incompatible type
new allocates memory
delete deallocates memory
sizeof queries the size of a type
sizeof... queries the size of a parameter pack (since C++11)
typeid queries the type information of a type
noexcept checks if an expression can throw an exception (since C++11)
alignof queries alignment requirements of a type (since C++11)