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Difference between break and continue statement in C

Last Updated : 10 Apr, 2023
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In this article, we will discuss the difference between the break and continue statements in C. They are the same type of statements which is used to alter the flow of a program still they have some difference between them.

break statement: This statement terminates the smallest enclosing loop (i.e., while, do-while, for loop, or switch statement). Below is the program to illustrate the same:

C




// C program to illustrate the
// break statement
#include <stdio.h>
 
// Driver Code
int main()
{
 
    int i = 0, j = 0;
 
    // Iterate a loop over the
    // range [0, 5]
    for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
 
        printf("i = %d, j = ", i);
 
        // Iterate a loop over the
        // range [0, 5]
        for (int j = 0; j < 5; j++) {
 
            // Break Statement
            if (j == 2)
                break;
 
            printf("%d ", j);
        }
 
        printf("\n");
    }
 
    return 0;
}


Output:

i = 0, j = 0 1 
i = 1, j = 0 1 
i = 2, j = 0 1 
i = 3, j = 0 1 
i = 4, j = 0 1

Explanation: In the above program the inner for loop always ends when the value of the variable j becomes 2.

continue statement: This statement skips the rest of the loop statement and starts the next iteration of the loop to take place. Below is the program to illustrate the same:

C




// C program to illustrate the
// continue statement
#include <stdio.h>
 
// Driver Code
int main()
{
 
    int i = 0, j = 0;
 
    // Iterate a loop over the
    // range [0, 5]
    for (int i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
 
        printf("i = %d, j = ", i);
 
        // Iterate a loop over the
        // range [0, 5]
        for (int j = 0; j < 5; j++) {
 
            // Continue Statement
            if (j == 2)
                continue;
 
            printf("%d ", j);
        }
 
        printf("\n");
    }
 
    return 0;
}


Output:

i = 0, j = 0 1 3 4 
i = 1, j = 0 1 3 4 
i = 2, j = 0 1 3 4 
i = 3, j = 0 1 3 4 
i = 4, j = 0 1 3 4

Explanation: In the above program the inner for loop always skip the iteration when the value of the variable j becomes 2.

Tabular Difference Between the break and continue statement:

Break Statement Continue Statement
The Break statement is used to exit from the loop constructs. The continue statement is not used to exit from the loop constructs.
The break statement is usually used with the switch statement, and it can also use it within the while loop, do-while loop, or the for-loop. The continue statement is not used with the switch statement, but it can be used within the while loop, do-while loop, or for-loop.
When a break statement is encountered then the control is exited from the loop construct immediately. When the continue statement is encountered then the control automatically passed from the beginning of the loop statement.
Syntax:
break;
Syntax:
continue;
Break statements uses switch and label statements. It does not use switch and label statements.
Leftover iterations are not executed after the break statement. Leftover iterations can be executed even if the continue keyword appears in a loop.


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