What are the syntax rule in C programming Language

C language syntax specify rules for sequence of characters to be written in C language. The rule specify how character sequence will be grouped together to form tokens. A smallest individual unit in c program is known as C Tokens. Tokens are either keyword, identifier, constant, variable or any symbol which has some meaning in C language. A C program can also be called as collection of various tokens.

Example of C tokens,

int curly braces { } comments semicolon ;


Comments are simple text in your C program that increases readability of programs. Compiler ignore anything written as comment in your program.

Example of comments :

Single line Comment
//This is a comment

Single line Comment
/*This is a comment*/

Multi line Comment
/*This is a long 
and valid comment*/

Wrong Syntax
//this is not
  a valid comment

Some basic syntax rule for C program

  • C is a case sensitive language so all C instructions must be written in lower case letter.
  • All C statement must be end with a semicolon.
  • Whitespace is used in C to describe blanks and tabs.
  • Whitespace is required between keywords and identifiers


Tokens in C

A C program consists of various tokens and a token is either a keyword, an identifier, a constant, a string literal, or a symbol. For example, the following C statement consists of five tokens −

printf("Hello, World! \n");

The individual tokens are −

"Hello, World! \n"


In a C program, the semicolon is a statement terminator. That is, each individual statement must be ended with a semicolon. It indicates the end of one logical entity.

Given below are two different statements −

printf("Hello, World! \n");
return 0;


Comments are like helping text in your C program and they are ignored by the compiler. They start with /* and terminate with the characters */ as shown below −

/* my first program in C */

You cannot have comments within comments and they do not occur within a string or character literals.


A C identifier is a name used to identify a variable, function, or any other user-defined item. An identifier starts with a letter A to Z, a to z, or an underscore ‘_’ followed by zero or more letters, underscores, and digits (0 to 9).

C does not allow punctuation characters such as @, $, and % within identifiers. C is a case-sensitive programming language. Thus, Manpowerand manpower are two different identifiers in C. Here are some examples of acceptable identifiers −

mohd       zara    abc   move_name  a_123
myname50   _temp   j     a23b9      retVal


The following list shows the reserved words in C. These reserved words may not be used as constants or variables or any other identifier names.

auto else long switch
break enum register typedef
case extern return union
char float short unsigned
const for signed void
continue goto sizeof volatile
default if static while
do int struct _Packed

Whitespace in C

A line containing only whitespace, possibly with a comment, is known as a blank line, and a C compiler totally ignores it.

Whitespace is the term used in C to describe blanks, tabs, newline characters and comments. Whitespace separates one part of a statement from another and enables the compiler to identify where one element in a statement, such as int, ends and the next element begins. Therefore, in the following statement −

int age;

there must be at least one whitespace character (usually a space) between int and age for the compiler to be able to distinguish them. On the other hand, in the following statement −

fruit = apples + oranges;   // get the total fruit

no whitespace characters are necessary between fruit and =, or between = and apples, although you are free to include some if you wish to increase readability.

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