C Constants - C Tutorial

C Constants

C constants refers to the data items that do not change their value during the program execution. Several types of C constants that are allowed in C are:

Integer Constants

Integer constants are whole numbers without any fractional part. It must have at least one digit and may contain either + or – sign. A number with no sign is assumed to be positive.

There are three types of integer constants:

Decimal Integer Constants

Integer constants consisting of a set of digits, 0 through 9, preceded by an optional – or + sign.

Example of valid decimal integer constants
341, -341, 0, 8972

Octal Integer Constants

Integer constants consisting of sequence of digits from the set 0 through 7 starting with 0 is said to be octal integer constants.

Example of valid octal integer constants
010, 0424, 0, 0540

Hexadecimal Integer Constants

Hexadecimal integer constants are integer constants having sequence of digits preceded by 0x or 0X. They may also include alphabets from A to F representing numbers 10 to 15.

Example of valid hexadecimal integer constants
0xD, 0X8d, 0X, 0xbD

Real Constants

The numbers having fractional parts are called real or floating point constants. These may be represented in one of the two forms called fractional form or the exponent form and may also have either + or – sign preceding it.

Example of valid real constants in fractional form or decimal notation
0.05, -0.905, 562.05, 0.015

Character Constants

A character constant contains one single character enclosed within single quotes.

Examples of valid character constants
'a' , 'Z', '5'

Escape Characters/ Escape Sequences

C allows us to have certain non graphic characters in character constants. Non graphic characters are those characters that cannot be typed directly from keyboard, for example, tabs, carriage return, etc.

These non graphic characters can be represented by using escape sequences represented by a backslash() followed by one or more characters.

NOTE: An escape sequence consumes only one byte of space as it represents a single character.

Escape Sequence Description
a Audible alert(bell)
b Backspace
f Form feed
n New line
r Carriage return
t Horizontal tab
v Vertical tab
\ Backslash
Double quotation mark
Single quotation mark
? Question mark

String Constants

String constants are sequence of characters enclosed within double quotes. For example,

Every sting constant is automatically terminated with a special character ‘’ called the null character which represents the end of the string.

For example, “hello” will represent “hello” in the memory.

Thus, the size of the string is the total number of characters plus one for the null character.

Special Symbols

The following special symbols are used in C having some special meaning and thus, cannot be used for some other purpose.

[] () {} , ; : * … = #

Braces{}: These opening and ending curly braces marks the start and end of a block of code containing more than one executable statement.

Parentheses(): These special symbols are used to indicate function calls and function parameters.

Brackets[]: Opening and closing brackets are used as array element reference. These indicate single and multidimensional subscripts.