C++, as the name suggests, is a superset of C. As a matter of fact, C++ can run most of C code while C cannot run C++ code. Here are the 10 major differences between C++ & C…

1. C follows the procedural programming paradigm while C++ is a multi-paradigm language(procedural as well as object oriented)

In case of C, importance is given to the steps or procedure of the program while C++ focuses on the data rather than the process.
Also, it is easier to implement/edit the code in case of C++ for the same reason.

2. In case of C, the data is not secured while the data is secured(hidden) in C++

This difference is due to specific OOP features like Data Hiding which are not present in C.

3. C is a low-level language while C++ is a middle-level language (Relatively, Please see the discussion at the end of the post)

C is regarded as a low-level language(difficult interpretation & less user friendly) while C++ has features of both low-level(concentration on whats going on in the machine hardware) & high-level languages(concentration on the program itself) & hence is regarded as a middle-level language.

Note: This is a relative difference. See updates at end of this post.

4. C uses the top-down approach while C++ uses the bottom-up approach

In case of C, the program is formulated step by step, each step is processed into detail while in C++, the base elements are first formulated which then are linked together to give rise to larger systems.

5. C is function-driven while C++ is object-driven

Functions are the building blocks of a C program while objects are building blocks of a C++ program.

6. C++ supports function overloading while C does not

Overloading means two functions having the same name in the same program. This can be done only in C++ with the help of Polymorphism(an OOP feature)

7. We can use functions inside structures in C++ but not in C.

In case of C++, functions can be used inside a structure while structures cannot contain functions in C.

8. The NAMESPACE feature in C++ is absent in case of C

C++ uses NAMESPACE which avoid name collisions. For instance, two students enrolled in the same university cannot have the same roll number while two students in different universities might have the same roll number. The universities are two different namespace & hence contain the same roll number(identifier) but the same university(one namespace) cannot have two students with the same roll number(identifier)

9. The standard input & output functions differ in the two languages

C uses scanf & printf while C++ uses cin>> & cout<< as their respective input & output functions

10. C++ allows the use of reference variables while C does not

Reference variables allow two variable names to point to the same memory location. We cannot use these variables in C programming.


11. C++ supports Exception Handling while C does not.

C does not support it “formally” but it can always be implemented by other methods. Though you don’t have the framework to throw & catch exceptions as in C++.

(will add more..)

UPDATES (ref to comments)-

Praveen – some of them r telling ‘C’ is a middle level language…..tell me the correct type of level language….?

Answer-@praveen – I agree there are always mixed opinions about this one. Some even like to call it a high-level language. But there’s really no determining factor behind the level of a programming language. Essentially, we’re making all the changes at the machine level, right? Now, as we increase the abstraction and move away from the machine-level, the level of the language increases. So, the level is nothing but the level of abstraction. So, most of the languages we use in applications today will have aspects of both machine-level and user-level. The two levels are machine-level & user(real world)-level while high & low levels are relative terms. Although, C is on a lower level of abstraction “relatively”- when compared to C++. Hence, referred to here as low-level.

Mitchell –
cin and cout are part of the std namespace, and they’re not functions. They’re almost like “pipes” in a sense. What you’re doing is essentially bit shifting (<> are bit shift operators) data into and out of them. As well, C++ still supports use of printf and scanf, so your std.cin and std.cout are by no means exclusive in their duties.

Don’t forget to check out :