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Difference Between For and While Loop in C

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What is the difference between for loop and while loop in C?

The prime distinguishing factor that sets for loop and while loop in C apart is their overall purpose and nature. In the case of the former, a programmer is aware of the number of iterations. At the same time, the execution is done for the latter until it reaches a condition and proves the statement false. 

What is a For Loop in C?

With a for loop in C, you're looking at a control flow statement that allows programmers to execute codes repeatedly for specifying the validity of any statement. In other words, for loop is a statement used to check specific conditions and then perform a set of codes until the required condition is met.

What is a While Loop in C?

Coming into existence when the command lies in focus with an uncertain number of iterations and executes until the condition becomes true. The condition, in this case, is generally any Boolean expression.

Difference Between For Loop and While Loop in C


In the case of "for loop," the initialization can either be inside or outside the loop, whereas "while loop" always sees initialization outside.

Increment Time

In "for loop," increment is done only after the statement is executed. On the contrary, the "while loop" is comparatively flexible and can be incremented before or after the execution.


For loop, the condition is generally a relational expression. At the same time, you can expect an expression or a non-zero value as a condition in the "while loop. In other words, for loop comprises a single condition, while the same for a while loop is an entire set at a time.

Time of Use

For loop is usually used when the number of iterations is known. While loop, on the other hand, comes into aid when you're unaware of the number of iterations.

Absence of Condition

Suppose the condition goes missing in for loop, the loop sets into an iteration mode for infinite repetitions. A lost condition in the while loop displays an error.

Initialization and Increment Nature

For loop is helpful whenever the initialization alongside the increment is simple. The scenes are entirely different in the while loop. The latter is used for initialization which is complex in nature.

Comparison Chart: For Loop Vs While Loop in C

ParameterFor LoopWhile Loop
InitializationCan either be inside or outside the loopAlways outside the loop
Increment TimeAfter the statement is executedBefore or after the execution of statement
ConditionRelational expressionAn expression or non zero value
Time of UseWhen the number of iterations are knownWhen the number of iterations are unknown
Absence of ConditionGoes into interaction mode for infinite repetitionsDisplays error
Initialization and Increment NatureSimpleComplex

Similarities: How For Loop is Similar to While Loop in C?

Besides being fairly apart, both “for” and “while” loops in C have one thing in common. Whether it is for loop or while loop, both proceed after checking the condition at the time of entry. In other words, for loop and while loop are iterations which are entry controlled. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is simple for loop vs. while loop in C?

For loop in C is comparatively easy to initialize with a straightforward increment nature. The same for “while” loop  is a bit more complicated.


There you’ve it, complete analysis of the elements that act as the differentiating factors between the “for” loop and the “while” loop in C. In case you find trouble decoding any of these, make sure to use the comment section below.


Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Nicolas Seignette

Nicolas Seignette, who holds a scientific baccalaureate, began his studies in mathematics and computer science applied to human and social sciences (MIASHS). He then continued his university studies with a DEUST WMI (Webmaster and Internet professions) at the University of Limoges before finishing his course with a professional license specialized in the IT professions. On 10Differences, he is in charge of the research and the writing of the articles concerning technology, sciences and mathematics.
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