C++ Keywords and Identifiers

In this tutorial, we will learn about keywords (reserved words in C++ programming that are part of the syntax). Also, we will learn about identifiers and how to name them.

C++ Keywords

Keywords are predefined words that have special meanings to the compiler. For example,

int money;

Here, int is a keyword that indicates money is a variable of type integer.

Here is a list of all C++ keywords. (as of C++17)

alignas decltype namespace struct
alignof default new switch
and delete noexcept template
and_eq do not this
asm double not_eq thread_local
auto dynamic_cast nullptr throw
bitand else operator true
bitor enum or try
bool explicit or_eq typedef
break export private typeid
case extern protected typename
catch false public union
char float register unsigned
char16_t for reinterpret_cast using
char32_t friend return virtual
class goto short void
compl if signed volatile
const inline sizeof wchar_t
constexpr int static while
const_cast long static_assert xor
continue mutable static_cast xor_eq

Note: As C++ is a case sensitive language, all keywords must be written in lowercase.


C++ Identifiers

Identifiers are the unique names given to variables, classes, functions, or other entities by the programmer. For example,

int money;
double accountBalance;

Here, money and accountBalance are identifiers.


Rules for naming identifiers

  • Identifiers can be composed of letters, digits, and the underscore character.
  • It has no limit on name length.
  • It must begin with either a letter or an underscore.
  • It is case-sensitive.
  • We cannot use keywords as identifiers.

We can choose any name as an identifier if we follow the above rules. However, we should give meaningful names to the identifier that makes sense.


Examples of good and bad identifiers

Invalid Identifier Bad Identifier Good Identifier
Total points T_points totalPoint
1list list_1 list1
float n_float floatNumber