Why variables can not be declared in a switch statement just after labels?

see this code

int main()
   int i=1;
       case 1: int x=10;
               printf(" x is %d",x);
    return 0;

Do you think this code will compile? if yes then you need to read this post….

see the compile snapshot of that code http://ideone.com/qZVbj

that code will not be compile and get error

prog.c: In function ‘main’:
prog.c:8: error: a label can only be part of a statement and a declaration is not a statement
Case statements are only 'labels'

In c according to spec

§6.8.1 Labeled Statements:

    identifier : statement
    case constant-expression : statement
    default : statement

In c there is no any clause that allows for a “labeled declaration”. It’s just not part of the language.


case 1: int x=10;
        printf(" x is %d",x);

so this will not compile see http://codepad.org/YiyLQTYw gcc is giving error

label can only be a part of statement and declaration is not a statement 


case 1: int x;
                      printf(" x is %d",x);

this is also not compile see http://codepad.org/BXnRD3bu here also i am getting same error.

In C++ according to spec

labeled-declaration is allowed but labeled -initialization is not allowed.

see this


Solution to such condition is three ways

1> Either use new scope using {}

Case statements are only ‘labels’. This means the compiler will interpret this as a jump directly to the label.The problem here is one of scope. Your curly brackets define the scope as everything inside the ‘switch’ statement. This means that you are left with a scope where a jump will be performed further into the code skipping the initialization. The correct way to handle this is to define a scope specific to that case statement and define your variable within it.

case 1:
        int x=10;
        printf(" x is %d",x);

2> or use dummy statement with label

case 1: ;
        int x=10;
        printf(" x is %d",x);

3> declare variable before switch() and initilize it with different values in case statement if it fulfill your requirement

int x;   // declare before
case 1: x=10;
case 2: x=20;

some more things with switch statement

newer writes any statements in switch which are not part of any label. because they will never executed .
NOTE: declaration can be written there but not statement (int i; is declaration but int i = 10; is declaration + assignment = statement so assignment will not be perform there..!)

printf("This will never print"); // this will never executed
case 1:
        printf(" 1");
default :

see this http://codepad.org/PA1quYX3

This is what i understood after my graduation completes………..!!!!


hey I am an Artist who love to write code...! Well I am an EC graduate From Ganpat University and now i am working as Embedded software engineer in one private firm.. find me at here JigAr Patel

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4 Comments to “Why variables can not be declared in a switch statement just after labels?”

  • Rasmiranjan Nayak February 1, 2012 at 5:55 am

    You wrote a fantastic article.
    I think the same question I have faced in Wipro interview around more than a year back.
    This article really helps…
    Thanks…. And keep writing some good articles.And update me when you are going to post a new article.

    • JIGAR PATEL February 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks a lot for such valuable comment….:)

      yea i dont like to make post by just copy paste from other sites. I Just write my experience , my learning …every day we learn/take much knowledge from INTERNET so here i am just giving something back to INTERNET…

      well till yet i havnt find one proper wordpress plugin for taking email id of interested people and informing those by sending email of new post , but i will do that soon…till that please follow me on facebook or twitter i usually share links of my new post..!!

  • Rasmiranjan Nayak February 1, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Let me know how can I bookmark your website in my wordpress.com page?

    • JIGAR PATEL February 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      In my wordpress dashboard i have option for Links at left side of dashboard

      Inside that Under Link categories i have added one new categories as “MY BOOKMARKS” then by clicking “Add new” i add new link there…

      ( NOTE : Inside Link by default one categories is available that is “blogroll” )

      still if you dont getting then please let me know….

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