C Tutorial



C Tutorial

Features of C Language

Since its introduction in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie, C has become a highly popular programming language. One of the several reasons for this huge demand is the innumerable exclusive features that C provides to all its users. Its predecessor, the B programming language, was developed to tackle some of the significant problems of BASIC and BPCL programming languages. It wasn’t until 1980 that C gained momentum and eventually emerged as one of the most widely used programming languages. 

The following article covers all the significant features of C and its object-oriented features. 

So, let’s get started!

Basic Features of C Programming Language

From being fast and efficient to offering portability, very few languages can compete with what C provides to its users. Let’s explore some of the basic features of the C programming language.

1. Fast and Efficient 

There are primarily two main factors that contribute to the high speed and efficiency of C. They are,

  • Statically typed programming language

  • Compiler based.

C is a statically typed programming language, meaning that when compared to other dynamic languages such as JavaScript or PHP, C is much faster. Furthermore, C is also compiler-based, meaning that the compilation and execution of codes done by the same is faster and more efficient. 

2. Simplicity 

While many programming languages are notorious for being hard to decode or understand, C does not fall into that category. It is very easy to read and interpret, enabling newbie programmers to easily create and redesign applications. Because of this nature, C is often used as an introductory language for students who have just ventured into the world of programming languages. 

3. Portability 

Programs that are written in C programming language are portable. They are compatible with most systems; thus, you can run and compile them on multiple systems with little to minor changes. 

4. Arrays 

Arrays can be defined as a group of elements of the same data type. They help to store and access multiple values using a single variable. The C programming language allows the creation of these arrays, which can bring several benefits to the table when implemented correctly. 

5. Control Structures

Lastly, the C programming language also offers several control structures like loops and conditional statements. A few examples of the same include ‘for’, ‘while’, ‘if’ and ‘switch’, among others. Using these, you can control the flow of execution based on the specified conditions. 

Advanced Features of C Programming Language

Apart from the basic features of C language, as discussed above, there are also a lot of other tools and properties that allow for more powerful programming. Wondering what those are? Let’s find out.

6. Pointers

In C, pointers are variables used to store memory addresses. They play a crucial role in dynamic memory allocation and make working with complex data structures like linked lists and graphs more manageable. With extensive support for pointers in the C programming language, you can efficiently utilise memory and manipulate data structures effectively.

7. Unions

Unions can be described as specific tools that can hold various data types, but only one type at a time. This unique feature is provided by C to all its users so that you can now share memory among various data types, such as in parsing binary data. 

8. Enumeration

Enumeration is a valuable feature in C that allows you to define custom data types with a predetermined set of named values. This feature is extensively utilised in C programming to improve code readability and create symbolic representations for related values. By using enumerations, you can easily work with a specific set of values and enhance the clarity of your code.

9. Recursion

Recursion is another one of the many features of C language that enables a function to call itself. Using the same, you can solve complex problems involving recursive structures, like graph algorithms and even recursive mathematical computations. 

10. Preprocessor Directives

C provides preprocessor directives, such as #define, #ifdef, and #include, to all its users. These are crucial for enabling text-based source code manipulation before the compilation process. Furthermore, you can also use these features to perform other vital functions, such as code inclusion and macro expansion, allowing you to handle different types of build configurations and generate reusable code. 

11. Large Standard Library

C boasts of a rich standard library that hoards numerous functions for common tasks, such as string manipulation, memory allocation, and mathematical operations. One main benefit of this is that it significantly reduces the need for writing code from scratch and increases the development process. 

Object-Oriented Features in C Programming Language

Contrary to other programming languages such as C++, or Java, C is primarily a procedural programming language. It does not have built-in support for OOP (Object-oriented programming) concepts, such as objects and inheritance. Nonetheless, you can implement these features in C with some additional features and techniques. Let’s find out how. 

12. Structures and Functions

C structures can be used to generate user-defined types that contain data. You can then write the respective functions to operate on these structures, thus mimicking the behaviour of methods in object-oriented programming. 

13. Function Pointers 

C provides robust support for function pointers, enabling the simulation of polymorphism, a crucial concept in object-oriented programming. Storing function pointers within structures and dynamically invoking the appropriate function based on context allows you to achieve polymorphic behaviour in C. This feature allows for flexible and dynamic function dispatch, enhancing the versatility and extensibility of your code.

14. Design Features

Object-oriented programming uses various design patterns, such as factory patterns and observer patterns, among others. While these are not exactly in-built into C programming language, by following the right practices, you can implement the same in a hassle-free manner. 

15. Inheritance 

Lastly, with the help of structures and function pointers, you can simulate inheritance in C. For the same, you need to create such structures that can embed other structures and implement function pointers to access the parent’s method. In this manner, you can create a form of single inheritance in C.


In conclusion, all these multiple features of C language make it a preferred choice for programmers. Its straightforward syntax contributes to its exceptional speed, surpassing many contemporary programming languages.  What’s more? Other popular programming languages, such as Python or JavaScript, have been influenced in some way or the other by C. 

Overall the importance of C language lies in its efficiency, portability, flexibility, and strong community support. To deepen your understanding of this widely utilised language, consider exploring upGrad’s Executive Post Graduate Program In Data Science And Machine Learning, brought to you by the University of Maryland. By enrolling in this program, you can enhance your skills and knowledge in the field of data science and machine learning, opening up exciting career opportunities. 


Q1: Can you state any four features of C?

Some of the many significant features of C include it is a portable language and has rich support of built-in functions. Furthermore, it is also structured, containing features of both high-level and low-level languages. Lastly, the syntax of C is easily understandable, making it the perfect choice for beginners to work with.

Q2: Can you name any one feature of C which is not present in C++?

Unlike C++, the C language does not support object-oriented programming. It does not possess the ability to incorporate important OOPs concepts, such as inheritance and polymorphism, by itself. However, with the help of additional techniques and methods, you can always simulate these concepts in C to some extent.

Q3: What is the importance of C?

Most modern-day applications, such as Microsoft Windows, run on C. Furthermore, one of the most popular languages, namely Python, was built on C itself. Needless to say, ever since its introduction in the year 1972, the demand and popularity of the C programming language have only increased. Even though many modern-day applications have started relying on high-level languages, many of their existing functionalities use C. 

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