inbinder inbinder - 1 year ago 99
C Question

Clarifying Pointer Notation

In going over some C code I've encountered the following as examples.

*(dates +2) I get that this is the 3rd element of the array


*dates +2 2 added to the value of the 1st element.

Is there a reason for using this notation over:

dates[2] seems clearer.

Answer Source

In *(dates +2), 2 is added to pointer dates and then the incremented pointer is dereferenced while in *dates +2, pointer dates is dereferenced first and then 2 is added to the dereferenced value.

        |       |       |       |       |
dates   |  2    |   5   |   6   |   10  |
          x100     x104    x108   x10C

In above expressions dates will be converted pointer to the first element, i.e. dates[0] of dates array. Address of dates[0] is x100. Therefore,
*(dates + 2) means: add 2 units to the base address x100 and then get the value stored at x108. Result will be 6.
*dates + 2 means: get the value at base addess x100 and then add 2 to that value. Result will be 2 + 2 = 4.

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