What is the & symbol in C++?

Are you learning C++ language and suddenly this ampersand symbol (&) appears? What is the & symbol in C++?

The & symbol in C++ is used as the “address of” operator. It is used to get the memory address of a variable.

What is the address operator in c++?

Now that you know that the & symbol is used as the “address of” operator, you might be curious what is the address operator in C++?

In C++, the address operator or the & symbol is used to get the memory address of a variable. The memory address of a variable is a unique identifier that tells you where the variable is stored in memory.

Examples of & symbol in C++

& symbol as “the address of” operator

Consider the following code:

int x = 5;
cout << &x << endl;

The output of this code would be the memory address of the variable x. This address can be thought of as a unique identifier for where the variable x is stored in memory.

& symbol in function parameters

Another use of the & symbol is in function parameters, it is used to pass a variable by reference instead of by value. For example,

void increment(int &x) {
int main() {
    int a = 5;
    cout << a << endl;  // output 6

Here, the variable a is passed by reference to the increment function, so when we increment the variable x inside the function, it changes the value of a in the main function as well.

& symbol to define a pointer variable

It’s also used to define a pointer variable.

int x = 5;
int* p = &x;

Here, p is a pointer variable that holds the address of x.


The & sign, also known as the “address of” operator, is a powerful tool in C++ programming that allows you to work with memory addresses and pass variables by reference. It can be used to get the memory address of a variable, which can be helpful in certain situations such as debugging or working with pointers. It also allows you to create pointer variables that can be used to access memory addresses in a more efficient way.

Passing variables by reference with the & operator is a great way to make sure your functions have the most up-to-date information. And using pointers allows you to do things such as dynamic memory allocation, which is a very useful technique.

Overall, the & symbol is a valuable addition to your C++ toolbox, so don’t be afraid to experiment with it and see how it can help you improve your code. It may seem intimidating at first, but with some practice, you’ll soon find it becomes second nature! Keep up the good work and happy coding!

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