What does '?' do in C++?

int qempty()
{
    return (f == r ? 1 : 0);
}

In the above snippet, what does "?" mean? What can we replace it with?

Answers


This is commonly referred to as the conditional operator, and when used like this:

condition ? result_if_true : result_if_false

... if the condition evaluates to true, the expression evaluates to result_if_true, otherwise it evaluates to result_if_false.

It is syntactic sugar, and in this case, it can be replaced with

int qempty()
{ 
  if(f == r)
  {
      return 1;
  } 
  else 
  {
      return 0;
  }
}

Note: Some people refer to ?: it as "the ternary operator", because it is the only ternary operator (i.e. operator that takes three arguments) in the language they are using.


This is a ternary operator, it's basically an inline if statement

x ? y : z

works like

if(x) y else z

except, instead of statements you have expressions; so you can use it in the middle of a more complex statement.

It's useful for writing succinct code, but can be overused to create hard to maintain code.


You can just rewrite it as:

int qempty(){ return(f==r);}

Which does the same thing as said in the other answers.


It is called the conditional operator.

You can replace it with:

int qempty(){ 
    if (f == r) return 1;
    else return 0;
}

It's the conditional operator.

a ? b : c

It's a shortcut for IF/THEN/ELSE.

means: if a is true, return b, else return c. In this case, if f==r, return 1, else return 0.


Just a note, if you ever see this:

a = x ? : y;

It's a GNU extension to the standard (see https://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/Conditionals.html#Conditionals).

It is the same as

a = x ? x : y;

The question mark is the conditional operator. The code means that if f==r then 1 is returned, otherwise, return 0. The code could be rewritten as

int qempty()
{
  if(f==r)
    return 1;
  else
    return 0;
}

which is probably not the cleanest way to do it, but hopefully helps your understanding.


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