C Learner C Learner - 13 days ago 4
C Question

Is char signed or unsigned by default?

In the book "Complete Reference of C" it is mentioned that char is by default unsigned.

But I am trying to verify this with GCC as well as Visual Studio. It is taking it as signed by default.

Which one is correct?

Answer

The book is wrong. The standard does not specify if plain char is signed or unsigned.

In fact, the standard defines three distinct types: char, signed char, and unsigned char. If you #include <limits.h> and then look at CHAR_MIN, you can find out if plain char is signed or unsigned (if CHAR_MIN is less than 0 or equal to 0), but even then, the three types are distinct as far as the standard is concerned.