C++ Tutorial Index

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C++ Control Statements

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C++ Functions

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C++ Arrays

Single dimension array Two dimension array

C++ Strings

C++ Strings

C++ Inheritance

C++ Inheritance Single level Inheritance Multilevel Inheritance Multiple Inheritance Hierarchical Inheritance Hybrid Inheritance

C++ Polymorphism

C++ Polymorphism C++ Overloading C++ Overriding C++ Virtual Function

C++ Pointers

C++ Pointers C++ this pointer

C++ Exception Handling

C++ Exception Handling

C++ Constructors

C++ Constructors Default Constructor Parameterize Constructor Copy constructor Constructor Overloading Destructor

C++ File Handling

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Unary Operator Overloading in C++

What is Unary Operator in C++?

In C++, a unary operator is an operator that takes a single operand. It operates on a single variable or expression and returns a value of the same type as the operand.

Some of the common unary operators in C++ are:

+ (unary plus)
- (unary minus)
++ (prefix and postfix increment)
-- (prefix and postfix decrement)
* (dereference or indirection)
& (address-of)
! (logical negation)
~ (bitwise complement)

The unary plus and unary minus operators + and - are used to change the sign of a numeric value. The prefix and postfix increment and decrement operators ++ and -- are used to increase or decrease the value of a variable by 1. The dereference operator * is used to access the value pointed to by a pointer, and the address-of operator & is used to obtain the memory address of a variable. The logical negation operator ! returns the opposite Boolean value of the operand, while the bitwise complement operator ~ returns the bitwise complement of the operand.

Here is an example of how some of these operators can be used:

int x = 5;
int y = -x;        // y is now -5
int z = ++x;       // x is now 6, z is now 6
int w = x--;       // x is now 5, w is now 6
int* ptr = &x;     // ptr points to the memory address of x
int val = *ptr;    // val is the value of x (5)
bool b = !val;     // b is false
int bits = ~val;   // bits is the bitwise complement of val

Unary operators can be overloaded in C++, which means you can define custom behavior for these operators when applied to objects of your own class. This allows you to create more intuitive and expressive code that works seamlessly with your custom classes.

Unary Operator Overloading

When you overload a unary operator, you are defining custom behavior for that operator when applied to objects of your class. This allows you to create more intuitive and expressive code that works seamlessly with your custom classes.

To overload a unary operator, you must define a member function with the operator keyword followed by the operator symbol you want to overload. The procedure should take no arguments (except for the postfix increment and decrement operators, which take a dummy int argument) and return a value of the same type as the class. For example, to overload the unary minus operator -, you would define a member function with the following signature:

class MyClass {
public:
    MyClass operator-() const;
};

Here, operator- is the name of the function, and the const keyword at the end specifies that the function doesn't modify the state of the object it's called on.

The implementation of the function should return a new instance of the class with the appropriate negation applied. For example, here's how you might implement the operator- function for a complex number class:

class Complex {
public:
    Complex operator-() const {
        return Complex(-real_, -imag_);
    }
private:
    double real_, imag_;
};

This implementation returns a new Complex object with the real and imaginary parts negated.

Once you have defined the operator- function, you can use the unary minus operator on objects of your class just like you would with built-in types:

Complex c(1, 2);
Complex neg_c = -c;

In this example, the neg_c object will have real part -1 and imaginary part -2.

Unary operator overloading can also be used to implement other functionality that is not directly related to the built-in operators. For example, you could define an operator! function to implement a logical NOT operator for your class, or an operator* function to implement a custom dereference operator.

However, it's important to use operator overloading judiciously and only when it makes sense for the semantics of your class.

Conclusion

In conclusion, unary operator overloading in C++ allows you to define custom behavior for unary operators when applied to objects of your own class. By doing so, you can make your code more intuitive and expressive by providing natural syntax and behavior that matches the semantics of your class.

To overload a unary operator, you need to define a member function with the operator keyword followed by the operator symbol you want to overload. The function should take no arguments (except for the postfix increment and decrement operators, which take a dummy int argument) and return a value of the same type as the class.

Unary operators that can be overloaded in C++ include +, -, ++, --, *, &, !, and ~. However, it's important to use operator overloading judiciously and only when it makes sense for the semantics of your class.

Unary operator overloading can be useful for implementing functionality that is not directly related to the built-in operators, such as logical NOT or custom dereference operators. However, it's important to follow good programming practices and ensure that your overloaded operators behave consistently with the standard behavior of the operator.

Overall, unary operator overloading in C++ can make your code more expressive and natural, providing a more intuitive and seamless experience when working with objects of your custom class.