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Difference between parameter and arguments in C

Most learners often use the terms "parameter" and "arguments" interchangeably, but there is a clear distinction between the two. This article will clarify the differences between function parameters and function arguments in C.

A parameter is a variable specified in a method's declaration or definition. The data that is given to a function when it is called is what arguments pertain to.

Function Parameter

In programming, variables declared in the function declaration are referred to as parameters. When a function is invoked, these parameters serve as placeholders for the input values provided to the Function. The key advantage of parameters is that they allow functions to handle various data values without completely rewriting the function code for each unique value.

In function definitions, the brackets immediately following the function name declare the Function's parameters. These parameters can encompass various data types, including characters, floats, integers, and even user-defined types.

Let's look at an example:

#include <stdio.h>
// Function declaration with parameters
int multiply(int num1, int num2);
int main(){
int a = 5;
int b = 3;
int result;
//Function call with arguments
result = multiply(a, b);
printf("The result is: %d\n", result);
return 0;
//Function definition with parameters
int multiply(int num1, int num2)
int product = num1 * num2;
return product;


Difference between parameter and arguments in C

In this instance, the function multiply has two inputs: num1 and num2. These parameters represent the multiplied numbers. The multiply function computes and stores the sum of num1 and num2 in the product variable. The outcome of the multiplication is the return of the product. We define two variables, a and b, and give them the values 5 and 3, respectively, in the main Function. The multiply function is then used with inputs a and b. The result variable holds the multiplication's outcome, which is then written to the console.

This example demonstrates how parameters allow us to pass values to functions and perform operations on them, making our code more modular and reusable.

Note: During function invocation, parameters get the values of the linked arguments and are then used within the Function's body to process or modify the received values.

Function Arguments

When a function is called, its values or expressions are called arguments. Arguments give the Function the essential data to work with or use while it is executed.

When invoking a function in C, the arguments are placed within brackets after the function name. These arguments can be constants, variables, or expressions provided to the relevant function parameters.

Here is an illustration of a C program that uses function arguments to carry out multiplication:

#include <stdio.h>
int multiply(int num1, int num2) {
int result = num1 * num2;
return result;
int main() {
int a, b, product;
printf("Enter the first number: ");
scanf("%d", &a);
printf("Enter the second number: ");
scanf("%d", &b); product = multiply(a, b);
printf("The product of %d and %d is: %d\n", a, b, product);
return 0;


Difference between parameter and arguments in C

Arguments are employed in the previously mentioned program primarily in two places:

1. Function Definition:

int multiply(int num1, int num2)
int result = num1 * num2;
return result;

Two integer parameters, num1, and num2, are used to define the multiply function. When the Function is invoked, these parameters serve as placeholders for the values supplied to it.

The Function multiplies the values of num1 and num2 together, and the outcome is saved in the result variable. The Function then returns the calculated result.

2. Function Call

product=multiply(a, b);

The multiply function is called with two arguments, a and b, in the main Function. These values are the precise figures that the user-supplied in response to a prompt.

The multiply function receives the values of a and b as arguments from the function call. These values are passed to the Function as parameters (num1 and num2); the Function multiplies the values, then returns the outcome. The product variable is then given the returned result in the main Function.

Note: Arguments are essential in giving a function the information it needs during execution. They must match in number, order, and type to the parameters specified in the function declaration or definition. They may be constants, variables, or expressions. Arguments are placed in brackets and separated by commas when invoking a function. Functions can handle the given data efficiently and produce the intended results by ensuring that arguments and parameters are aligned correctly.

Let's now look at how arguments and parameters differ from one another.

Arguments Parameters
actual arguments are given to a function when it is called Variables declared in the function definition or declaration
In the function call, it is provided. They are defined in the function definition or prototype.
It could involve several data types. Additionally, there are several data types.
They're used to set the respective parameters' initial values or assign them values. Serve as replacements for the passed values.
The order and data types of the respective parameters must coincide. It must coincide with the associated arguments' ordering and data types.
It can be keywords or positional arguments. They are referred to simply by their positions and lack keywords.
It can be passed as output parameters, a reference, or a value. It can be passed by value or reference.
may or may not change the initial values of the arguments' variables Modifications made within the method won't impact the calling code.
There may be zero or more arguments in a function. There may be zero or more parameters in a function.
The number of arguments provided and the number of anticipated parameters must match. The number of expected arguments must equal the number of specified parameters.
To supply input data to the Function, arguments are used. To specify the Function's input requirements, parameters are used.
The only place where arguments are visible and usable is within the function body. The entire function scope includes parameters that are visible and accessible.
Arguments are defined and determined at runtime. At compilation time, parameters are declared and selected.
Arguments help the calling code and the Function communicate with each other. Functions can accept and process data from the calling code thanks to parameters.
The order of arguments in the function call matters. The function call is unaffected by the order of parameters in the function specification.