What is variable? State the rules of forming variable names. What is the purpose of declaration of variables?

What is meant by variable? Explain the various rules for forming variable names.

An entity that may vary during program execution is called a variable. Variable names are names given to locations in memory. These locations can contain integer, real or character constants. In any language, the types of variables that it support depend on the types of constants that it can handle. This is because a particular type of variable can hold only the same the same type of constant. For example, an integer variable can hold only a an integer constant, a real variable can hold only a real constant and a character variable can hold only a character constant.

The rules for constructing different types of constants are different. However, for constructing variable names of all types the same set of rules apply.

Rules for Constructing Variable Names

1) A variable name is any combination of 1 to 31 alphabets, digits or underscores. Some compilers allow variable names whose length could be up to 247 characters. Still, it would be safer to stick to the rule of 31 characters. Do not create unnecessarily long variable names as it adds to your typing effort ..

2) The first character in the variable name must be an alphabet or underscore.

3) No commas or blanks are allowed within a variable name.

4) No special symbol other than an underscore(as in gross_sal ) can be used in a variable name.

Ex.: si_int, m_hra, pop_e_89.

These rules remain same for all the types of primary and secondary variables. Naturally, the question follows …how is C able to differentiate between these variables? This is a rather simple matter. C compiler is able to distinguish between the variable names by making it compulsory for you to declare the type of any variable name that you wish to use in a program. This type declaration is done at the beginning of the program.

Following are the examples of type declaration statements:

Ex: int si, m_hra ;

float bassal;

char code;

Since, the maximum allowable length of a variable name is 31 characters, an enormous number of variable names can be constructed using the above-mentioned rules. It is a good practice to exploit this enormous choice in naming variables by using meaningful variable names.

Thus, if we want to calculate simple interest, it is always advisable to construct meaningful variable names like prin, roi, noy to represent Principle, Rate of interest and Number of years rather than using the variables a, b, c.


/*Documentation Section: program to find the area of circle*/

#include<stdio.h>   /*link section*/

#include<conio.h>  /*link section*/

#define PI 3.14     /*definition section*/

float area;          /*global declaration  section*/

void main()


float r;                /*declaration part*/

printf(“Enter the radius of the circle\n”);   /*executable part starts here*/



printf(“Area of the circle=%f”,area);