c++ question

Michael Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Sat Sep 23 14:18:16 MDT 2006

On Sat, 2006-09-23 at 13:49 -0600, Dave Smith wrote:
> Wrong. In both cases (char* and char[]), the variable itself stores the 
> address. You do not need the & operator in either case.
> In fact, using the & operator is incorrect, because it will give you the 
> address of the variable that was already holding the address of the 
> character array, instead of the address of the character array.

According to my informal testing, if the array is statically declared
like this:

char myarray[50];

then &myarray and myarray seem to be equivalent.  However, in the case

char *myarray="something"

then &myarray would certainly be wrong, since that would be a pointer to
a pointer.  Which is what the grandfather post said.  I do agree, though
that the & operator is incorrect to use, even it if does work.

It's trickier when you are trying to deal with implementing some sort of
pass-by-reference in C.  Usually you pass pointers to pointers.  But for
static arrays you don't usually pass by pointer at all (at least
explicitly); it's already pass-by-pointer.  This would be one of the
cases where char[] and char* are *not* equivalent.  For example,

char *myarray1="something"; //pointer to a static character array
char myarray2[50];


test1(myarray1); //fine
test1(myarray2); //fine

test2(&myarray1); //fine; myarray1 will be pointing at something else
test2(&myarray2); //will not work since char[] and char* are different,
although it would compile I think

test3(myarray1); //don't think this works but I'm not sure
test3(myarray2); //fine.

void test1(char *a){

void test2(char **a) {
	(*a)="another static string";

void test3(char a[]) {


> --Dave
> /*
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