1 General [intro]______________________________________________________________________1.1 Scope[intro.scope]
1 This International Standard specifies requirements for implementations
of the C++ programming language. The first such requirement is that
they implement the language, and so this International Standard also
defines C++. Other requirements and relaxations of the first require-
ment appear at various places within the Standard.
2 C++ is a general purpose programming language based on the C program-
ming language as described in ISO/IEC 9899:1990 Programming Languages
C (_intro.refs_). In addition to the facilities provided by C, C++
provides additional data types, classes, templates, exceptions, names-
paces, inline functions, operator overloading, function name overload-
ing, references, free store management operators, and additional
library facilities. These extensions to C are summarized in _diff.c_.
The differences between C++ and ISO C are summarized in _diff.iso_.
The extensions to C++ since 1985 are summarized in _diff.c++_.
3 Clauses _lib.library_ through _lib.input.output_ (the library clauses)
describe the Standard C++ library, which provides definitions for the
following kinds of entities: macros (_cpp.replace_), values (_basic_),
types (_dcl.name_, _dcl.meaning_), templates (_temp_), classes
(_class_), functions (_dcl.fct_), and objects (_dcl.dcl_).
4 For classes and class templates, the library clauses specify partial
definitions. Private members (_class.access_) are not specified, but
each implementation shall supply them to complete the definitions
according to the description in the library clauses.
5 For functions, function templates, objects, and values, the library
clauses specify declarations. Implementations shall supply defini-
tions consistent with the descriptions in the library clauses.
6 The names defined in the library have namespace scope (_basic.names-
pace_). A C++ translation unit (_lex.phases_) obtains access to these
names by including the appropriate standard library header
7 The templates, classes, functions, and objects in the library have
external linkage (_basic.link_). The implementation provides defini-
tions for standard library entities, as necessary, while combining
translation units to form a complete C++ program (_lex.phases_).
1.2 Normative references[intro.refs]
1 The following standards contain provisions which, through reference in
this text, constitute provisions of this International Standard. At
the time of publication, the editions indicated were valid. All stan-
dards are subject to revision, and parties to agreements based on this
International Standard are encouraged to investigate the possibility
of applying the most recent editions of the standards indicated below.
Members of IEC and ISO maintain registers of currently valid Interna-
--ISO/IEC 2382 Dictionary for Information Processing Systems.
--ISO/IEC 9899:1990 Programming Languages - C
--ISO/IEC:1990 Programming Languages - C AMENDMENT 1: C Integrity
2 The library described in Clause 7 of the C Standard and Clause 7 of
Amendment 1 to the C Standard is hereinafter called the Standard CLibrary.1)
1.3 Implementation compliance[intro.compliance]
1 The set of "diagnosable semantic rules" consists of all semantic rules
in this International Standard except for those rules containing an
explicit notation that "no diagnostic is required."
2 Every conforming C++ implementation shall, within its resource limits,
accept and correctly execute well-formed C++ programs, and shall issue
at least one diagnostic message when presented with any ill-formed
program that contains a violation of any diagnosable semantic rule or
of any syntax rule.
3 If an ill-formed program contains no violations of diagnosable seman-
tic rules, this International Standard places no requirement on imple-
mentations with respect to that program.
4 Two kinds of implementations are defined: hosted and freestanding.
For a hosted implementation, this International Standard defines the
set of available libraries. A freestanding implementation is one in
which execution may take place without the benefit of an operating
system, and has an implementation-defined set of libraries that
includes certain language-support libraries (_lib.compliance_).
5 Although this International Standard states only requirements on C++
implementations, those requirements are often easier to understand if
they are phrased as requirements on programs, parts of programs, or
execution of programs. Such requirements have the following meaning:
1) With the qualifications noted in clauses _lib.library_ through
_lib.input.output_, and in _diff.library_, the Standard C library is a
subset of the Standard C++ library.
--Whenever this International Standard places a diagnosable require-
ment on the form of a program (that is, the characters, tokens, syn-
tactic elements, and types that make up the program), and a program
does not meet that requirement, the program is ill-formed and the
implementation shall issue a diagnostic message when processing that
--Whenever this International Standard places a requirement on the
execution of a program (that is, the values of data that are used as
part of program execution) and the data encountered during execution
do not meet that requirement, the behavior of the program is unde-
fined and this International Standard places no requirements at all
on the behavior of the program.
6 In this International Standard, a term is italicized when it is first
defined. In this International Standard, the examples, the notes, the
footnotes, and the non-normative annexes are not part of the normative
Standard. Each example is introduced by "[Example:" and terminated by
"]". Each note is introduced by "[Note:" and terminated by "]".
Examples and notes may be nested.
7 A conforming implementation may have extensions (including additional
library functions), provided they do not alter the behavior of any
well-formed program. One example of such an extension is allowing
identifiers to contain characters outside the basic source character
set. Implementations are required to diagnose programs that use such
extensions that are ill-formed according to this Standard. Having
done so, however, they can compile and execute such programs.
1 For the purposes of this International Standard, the definitions given
in ISO/IEC 2382 and the following definitions apply.
--argument: An expression in the comma-separated list bounded by the
parentheses in a function call expression, a sequence of preprocess-
ing tokens in the comma-separated list bounded by the parentheses in
a function-like macro invocation, the operand of throw, or an
expression, type-id or template-name in the comma-separated list
bounded by the angle brackets in a template instantiation. Also
known as an "actual argument" or "actual parameter."
--diagnostic message: A message belonging to an implementation-defined
subset of the implementation's output messages.
--dynamic type: The dynamic type of an lvalue expression is the type
of the most derived object (_intro.object_) to which the lvalue
refers. [Example: if a pointer (_dcl.ptr_) p whose static type is
"pointer to class B" is pointing to an object of class D, derived
from B (_class.derived_), the dynamic type of the expression *p is
"D." References (_dcl.ref_) are treated similarly. ] The dynamictype of an rvalue expression is its static type.
--ill-formed program: input to a C++ implementation that is not a
well-formed program (q. v.).
--implementation-defined behavior: Behavior, for a well-formed program
construct and correct data, that depends on the implementation and
that each implementation shall document.
--implementation limits: Restrictions imposed upon programs by the
--locale-specific behavior: Behavior that depends on local conventions
of nationality, culture, and language that each implementation shall
--multibyte character: A sequence of one or more bytes representing a
member of the extended character set of either the source or the
execution environment. The extended character set is a superset of
the basic character set (_lex.charset_).
--parameter: an object or reference declared as part of a function
declaration or definition, or in the catch clause of an exception
handler that acquires a value on entry to the function or handler;
an identifier from the comma-separated list bounded by the parenthe-
ses immediately following the macro name in a function-like macro
definition; or a template-parameter. Parameters are also known as
"formal arguments" or "formal parameters."
--signature: The signature of a function is the information about that
function that participates in overload resolution (_over.match_):
the types of its parameters and, if the function is a class member,
the cv- qualifiers (if any) on the function itself and the class in
which the member function is declared.2) The signature of a template
function specialization includes the types of its template arguments
--static type: The static type of an expression is the type
(_basic.types_) resulting from analysis of the program without con-
sideration of execution semantics. It depends only on the form of
the program and does not change while the program is executing.
--undefined behavior: Behavior, such as might arise upon use of an
erroneous program construct or of erroneous data, for which the
Standard imposes no requirements. Undefined behavior may also be
expected when the standard omits the description of any explicit
definition of behavior. [Note: permissible undefined behavior
ranges from ignoring the situation completely with unpredictable
results, to behaving during translation or program execution in a
documented manner characteristic of the environment (with or without
the issuance of a diagnostic message), to terminating a translation
or execution (with the issuance of a diagnostic message). Note that
many erroneous program constructs do not engender undefined
2) Function signatures do not include return type, because that does
not participate in overload resolution.
behavior; they are required to be diagnosed. ]
--unspecified behavior: Behavior, for a well-formed program construct
and correct data, that depends on the implementation. The implemen-
tation is not required to document which behavior occurs. [Note:
usually, the range of possible behaviors is delineated by the Stan-
--well-formed program: a C++ program constructed according to the syn-
tax rules, diagnosable semantic rules, and the One Definition Rule
2 Clause _lib.definitions_ defines additional terms that are used only
in the library clauses (_lib.library_-_lib.input.output_).
1.5 Syntax notation[syntax]
1 In the syntax notation used in this International Standard, syntactic
categories are indicated by italic type, and literal words and charac-
ters in constant width type. Alternatives are listed on separate
lines except in a few cases where a long set of alternatives is pre-
sented on one line, marked by the phrase "one of." An optional termi-
nal or nonterminal symbol is indicated by the subscript "opt," so
indicates an optional expression enclosed in braces.
2 Names for syntactic categories have generally been chosen according to
the following rules:
--X-name is a use of an identifier in a context that determines its
meaning (e.g. class-name, typedef-name).
--X-id is an identifier with no context-dependent meaning (e.g. qual-ified-id).
--X-seq is one or more X's without intervening delimiters (e.g. dec-laration-seq is a sequence of declarations).
--X-list is one or more X's separated by intervening commas (e.g.
expression-list is a sequence of expressions separated by commas).
1.6 The C++ memory model[intro.memory]
1 The fundamental storage unit in the C++ memory model is the byte. A
byte is at least large enough to contain any member of the basic exe-
cution character set and is composed of a contiguous sequence of bits,
the number of which is implementation-defined. The least significant
bit is called the low-order bit; the most significant bit is called
the high-order bit. The memory available to a C++ program consists of
one or more sequences of contiguous bytes. Every byte has a unique
2 [Note: the representation of types is described in _basic.types_. ]
1.7 The C++ object model[intro.object]
1 The constructs in a C++ program create, destroy, refer to, access, and
manipulate objects. An object is a region of storage. An object is
created by a definition (_basic.def_), by a new-expression
(_expr.new_) or by the implementation (_class.temporary_) when needed.
The properties of an object are determined when the object is created.
An object can have a name (_basic_). An object has a storage duration
(_basic.stc_) which influences its lifetime (_basic.life_). An object
has a type (_basic.types_). The term object type refers to the type
with which the object is created. Some objects are polymorphic
(_class.virtual_); the implementation generates information associated
with each such object that makes it possible to determine that
object's type during program execution. For other objects, the inter-
pretation of the values found therein is determined by the type of the
expressions (_expr_) used to access them.
2 Objects can contain other objects, called sub-objects. A sub-object
can be a member sub-object (_class.mem_), a base class sub-object
(_class.derived_), or an array element. An object that is not a sub-
object of any other object is called a complete object.
3 For every object x, there is some object called the complete object of
x, determined as follows:
--If x is a complete object, then x is the complete object of x.
--Otherwise, the complete object of x is the complete object of the
(unique) object that contains x.
If a complete object, a data member (_class.mem_), or an array element
is of class type, its type is considered the most derived class, to
distinguish it from the class type of any base class subobject; an
object of a most derived class type is called a most derived object.
4 Unless it is a bit-field (_class.bit_), a most derived object shall
have a non-zero size and shall occupy one or more bytes of storage.
Base class sub-objects may have zero size. An object of POD type
(_basic.types_) shall occupy contiguous bytes of storage.
5 [Note: C++ provides a variety of built-in types and several ways of
composing new types from existing types (_basic.types_). ]
1.8 Program execution[intro.execution]
1 The semantic descriptions in this International Standard define a
parameterized nondeterministic abstract machine. This International
Standard places no requirement on the structure of conforming imple-
mentations. In particular, they need not copy or emulate the struc-
ture of the abstract machine. Rather, conforming implementations are
required to emulate (only) the observable behavior of the abstract
machine as explained below.3)
3) This provision is sometimes called the "as-if" rule, because an im-
2 Certain aspects and operations of the abstract machine are described
in this International Standard as implementation-defined (for example,
sizeof(int)). These constitute the parameters of the abstract
machine. Each implementation shall include documentation describing
its characteristics and behavior in these respects. Such documenta-
tion shall define the instance of the abstract machine that corre-
sponds to that implementation (referred to as the ``corresponding
3 Certain other aspects and operations of the abstract machine are
described in this International Standard as unspecified (for example,
order of evaluation of arguments to a function). Where possible, the
Standard defines a set of allowable behaviors. These define the non-
deterministic aspects of the abstract machine. An instance of the
abstract machine can thus have more than one possible execution
sequence for a given program and a given input.
4 Certain other operations are described in this International Standard
as undefined (for example, the effect of dereferencing the null
pointer). [Note: this International Standard imposes no requirements
on the behavior of programs that contain undefined behavior. ]
5 A conforming implementation executing a well-formed program shall pro-
duce the same observable behavior as one of the possible execution
sequences of the corresponding instance of the abstract machine with
the same program and the same input. However, if any such execution
sequence contains an undefined operation, this International Standard
places no requirement on the implementation executing that program
with that input (not even with regard to operations preceding the
first undefined operation).
6 The observable behavior of the abstract machine is its sequence of
reads and writes to volatile data and calls to library I/O
7 Accessing an object designated by a volatile lvalue (_basic.lval_),
modifying an object, calling a library I/O function, or calling a
function that does any of those operations are all side effects, which
are changes in the state of the execution environment. Evaluation of
an expression might produce side effects. At certain specified points
in the execution sequence called sequence points, all side effects of
previous evaluations shall be complete and no side effects of subse-
quent evaluations shall have taken place.5)
plementation is free to disregard any requirement of the Standard as
long as the result is as if the requirement had been obeyed, as far as
can be determined from the observable behavior of the program.
4) An implementation can offer additional library I/O functions as an
extension. Implementations that do so should treat calls to those
functions as ``observable behavior'' as well.
5) Note that some aspects of sequencing in the abstract machine are
unspecified; the preceding restriction upon side effects applies to
that particular execution sequence in which the actual code is gener-
ated. Also note that when a call to a library I/O function returns,
8 Once the execution of a function begins, no expressions from the call-
ing function are evaluated until execution of the called function has
9 In the abstract machine, all expressions are evaluated as specified by
the semantics. An actual implementation need not evaluate part of an
expression if it can deduce that its value is not used and that no
needed side effects are produced (including any caused by calling a
function or accessing a volatile object).
10When the processing of the abstract machine is interrupted by receipt
of a signal, the values of objects modified after the preceding
sequence point are indeterminate during the execution of the signal
handler, and the value of any object not of volatile sig_atomic_t that
is modified by the handler becomes undefined.
11An instance of each object with automatic storage duration
(_basic.stc.auto_) is associated with each entry into its block. Such
an object exists and retains its last-stored value during the execu-
tion of the block and while the block is suspended (by a call of a
function or receipt of a signal).
12The least requirements on a conforming implementation are:
--At sequence points, volatile objects are stable in the sense that
previous evaluations are complete and subsequent evaluations have
not yet occurred.
--At program termination, all data written into files shall be identi-
cal to one of the possible results that execution of the program
according to the abstract semantics would have produced.
--The input and output dynamics of interactive devices shall take
place in such a fashion that prompting messages actually appear
prior to a program waiting for input. What constitutes an interac-
tive device is implementation-defined.
[Note: more stringent correspondences between abstract and actual
semantics may be defined by each implementation. ]
13A full-expression is an expression that is not a subexpression of
14[Note: certain contexts in C++ cause the evaluation of a full-expres-
sion that results from a syntactic construct other than expression
(_expr.comma_). For example, in _dcl.init_ one syntax for initializer
the side effect is considered complete, even though some external ac-
tions implied by the call (such as the I/O itself) may not have com-
6) In other words, function executions do not interleave with each
( expression-list )
but the resulting construct is a function call upon a constructor
function with expression-list as an argument list; such a function
call is a full-expression. For example, in _dcl.init_, another syntax
for initializer is
but again the resulting construct might be a function call upon a con-
structor function with one assignment-expression as an argument;
again, the function call is a full-expression. ]
15[Note: the evaluation of a full-expression can include the evaluation
of subexpressions that are not lexically part of the full-expression.
For example, subexpressions involved in evaluating default argument
expressions (_dcl.fct.default_) are considered to be created in the
expression that calls the function, not the expression that defines
the default argument. ]
16[Note: operators can be regrouped according to the usual mathematical
rules only where the operators really are associative or
commutative.7) For example, in the following fragment
int a, b;
a = a + 32760 + b + 5;
the expression statement behaves exactly the same as
a = (((a + 32760) + b) + 5);
due to the associativity and precedence of these operators. Thus, the
result of the sum (a + 32760) is next added to b, and that result is
then added to 5 which results in the value assigned to a. On a
machine in which overflows produce an exception and in which the range
of values representable by an int is [-32768,+32767], the implementa-
tion cannot rewrite this expression as
a = ((a + b) + 32765);
since if the values for a and b were, respectively, -32754 and -15,
the sum a + b would produce an exception while the original expression
would not; nor can the expression be rewritten either as
a = ((a + 32765) + b);
a = (a + (b + 32765));
since the values for a and b might have been, respectively, 4 and -8
or -17 and 12. However on a machine in which overflows do not produce
an exception and in which the results of overflows are reversible, the
above expression statement can be rewritten by the implementation in
any of the above ways because the same result will occur. ]
17There is a sequence point at the completion of evaluation of each
7) Overloaded operators are never assumed to be associative or commu-
8) As specified in _class.temporary_, after the "end-of-full-expres-
sion" sequence point, a sequence of zero or more invocations of de-
structor functions for temporary objects takes place, usually in re-
verse order of the construction of each temporary object.
18When calling a function (whether or not the function is inline), there
is a sequence point after the evaluation of all function arguments (if
any) which takes place before execution of any expressions or state-
ments in the function body. There is also a sequence point after the
copying of a returned value and before the execution of any expres-
sions outside the function9). Several contexts in C++ cause evalua-
tion of a function call, even though no corresponding function call
syntax appears in the translation unit. [Example: evaluation of a new
expression invokes one or more allocation and constructor functions;
see _expr.new_. For another example, invocation of a conversion func-
tion (_class.conv.fct_) can arise in contexts in which no function
call syntax appears. ] The sequence points at function-entry and
function-exit (as described above) are features of the function calls
as evaluated, whatever the syntax of the expression that calls the
function might be.
19In the evaluation of each of the expressions
a && b
a || b
a ? b : c
a , b
using the built-in meaning of the operators in these expressions
(_expr.log.and_, _expr.log.or_, _expr.cond_, _expr.comma_) there is a
sequence point after the evaluation of the first expression10).
9) The sequence point at the function return is not explicitly speci-
fied in ISO C, and can be considered redundant with sequence points at
full-expressions, but the extra clarity is important in C++. In C++,
there are more ways in which a called function can terminate its exe-
cution, such as the throw of an exception.
10) The operators indicated in this paragraph are the built-in opera-
tors, as described in Clause _expr_. When one of these operators is
overloaded (_over_) in a valid context, thus designating a user-de-
fined operator function, the expression designates a function invoca-
tion, and the operands form an argument list, without an implied se-
quence point between them.