Decrement Operator

Definition - What does Decrement Operator mean?

A decrement operator, in the context of C#, is a unary operator. It returns a value of same type, with predefined value equal to the operand value minus one. The decrement operator is denoted by the symbol '—'.

A decrement operator supports both prefix and postfix notations. In case of prefix notation (denoted by --x, where x is a variable), the value of a variable is used in the expression after decrementing its original value. While using postfix notation (x--), the value of a variable before the decrement operation will be considered in the expression. A decrement operator can be used to change the pointer location by subtracting a value equal to the size (or pointer-type) from the address contained in the pointer variable.

Techopedia explains Decrement Operator

A decrement operator is usually used in loop iteration statements or in any context where there is a need to decrement by one unit. Features of decrement operator include:

  • The value returned by the decrement operator is stored in a location pointing to the variable.
  • The value returned by the operator becomes the result of the decrement operation.
  • Types which have predefined decrement operator implementation are numeric types, such as integer, sbyte, short, int, long, char, float, double, decimal, and enumeration type.
  • User-defined types can overload the decrement operator to implement necessary semantics.
  • While applying a decrement operator to the pointer, result depends on implementation. Exceptions are not thrown if the operation overflows the pointer domain.
  • The precedence of decrement operator allows postfix notation to have a higher precedence than the prefix form.

Note that, while using a decrement operator, the operand must be an expression representing a variable, property access, or indexes. Additionally, If the decrement operator is used with prefix notation for operand, the property or indexer must have a get and set accessor to avoid compilation errors. Furthermore, if a decrement operator is used for a pointer, the pointer can be of any type except void*.

A decrement operator should be used to set a variable and not to a value. Usage of a decrement operator more than once in a single expression can cause unpredictable results mostly because of optimization applied by the compiler. Hence, it is suggested to use a decrement operator after understanding the order of evaluation, while using both postfix and prefix notation along with its precedence in the set of C# operators. Postfix and prefix notations of a decrement operator cannot have separate operator implementation.

This definition was written in the context of C#
Share this:

Connect with us

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter

The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems
The 4th Era of IT Infrastructure: Superconverged Systems:
Learn the benefits and limitations of the 3 generations of IT infrastructure – siloed, converged and hyperconverged – and discover how the 4th...
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization
Approaches and Benefits of Network Virtualization:
Businesses today aspire to achieve a software-defined datacenter (SDDC) to enhance business agility and reduce operational complexity. However, the...
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide
Free E-Book: Public Cloud Guide:
This white paper is for leaders of Operations, Engineering, or Infrastructure teams who are creating or executing an IT roadmap.
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor
Free Tool: Virtual Health Monitor:
Virtual Health Monitor is a free virtualization monitoring and reporting tool for VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, and XenServer environments.
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic
Free 30 Day Trial – Turbonomic:
Turbonomic delivers an autonomic platform where virtual and cloud environments self-manage in real-time to assure application performance.