Skip to content
Related Articles

Related Articles

Improve Article

Can references refer to invalid location in C++?

  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 29 May, 2017

In C++, Reference variables are safer than pointers because reference variables must be initialized and they cannot be changed to refer to something else once they are initialized. But there are exceptions where we can have invalid references.

1) Reference to value at uninitialized pointer.

int *ptr;
int &ref = *ptr;  // Reference to value at some random memory location

2) Reference to a local variable is returned.

int& fun()
   int a = 10;
   return a;

Once fun() returns, the space allocated to it on stack frame will be taken back. So the reference to a local variable will not be valid.

Please write comments if you find anything incorrect in the above GFact or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.

Want to learn from the best curated videos and practice problems, check out the C++ Foundation Course for Basic to Advanced C++ and C++ STL Course for foundation plus STL.  To complete your preparation from learning a language to DS Algo and many more,  please refer Complete Interview Preparation Course.
My Personal Notes arrow_drop_up
Recommended Articles
Page :