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Example: Function maximum is invoked or called in main() with the call

maximum(a, b, c)

Function prototypes

One of the most important features of C++ is the function prototype. A function prototype declares to the compiler that you intend to use a function later in the program. It informs the compiler the name of the function, the type of data returned by the function, the number of parameters the function expects to receive, the types of the parameters and the order in which these parameters are expected. The compiler uses function prototypes to validate function calls.

If you try to call a function at any point in the program prior to its function prototype or function definition, you will receive an error when you compile the project.


// Finding the maximum of three integers


int maximum(int, int, int); // function prototype

int main()


int a, b, c;

cout<<"Enter three integers: ";


// a, b and c below are arguments to the maximum function call

cout<<"Maximum is: "<<maximum (a, b, c)<<endl;

return 0;


// Function maximum definition

// x, y and z are parameters to the maximum function definition

int maximum( int x, int y, int z)


int max = x;

if ( y>max )

max = y;

if ( z>max )

max = z;

return max;


The output of the above program:

Enter three integers: 22 85 17

Maximum is: 85

Passing by value

If a variable is one of the actual parameters in a function call, the called function receives a copy of the values stored in the variable. After the values are passed to the called function, control is transferred to the called function.

Example: The expression maximum( a, b, c) calls the function maximum() and causes the values currently residing in the variables a, b and c to be passed to maximum().

The method of passing values to a called function is called pass by value.

Functions with empty parameter lists

Functions may have empty parameter list. The function prototype for such a function requires either the keyword void or nothing at all between the parentheses following the function name.


int display();

int display(void);

Returning values

To actually return a value, the function must use a return statement, which has the form:

return expression;



Remember that values passes back and forth between functions must be of the same data type.

When the return statement is encountered, the expression is evaluated first. The value of the expression is then automatically converted to the data type declared in the function header before being sent back to the calling function. After the value is returned, program control reverts to the calling function.

Inline functions

For small functions, you can use the inline keyword to request that the compiler replace calls to a function with the function definition wherever the function is called in a program.


// Using an inline function to calculate

// the volume of a cube.


inline double cube(double s) { return s * s * s; }

int main()


cout<<"Enter the side length of your cube: ";

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Programming fundamentals in c++. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10788/1.1
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