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C break

last modified February 27, 2021

C break tutorial shows how to terminate do, for, switch, or while statements in C.

The break statement

The break statement terminates the execution of the nearest enclosing do, for, switch, or while statement in which it appears.

The execution of the program passes to the statement that follows the terminated statement.

C break with while

In the following example, we use a break statement with the while loop. With while (1), we create and endless loop. In order to terminate the loop, we use the break statement.

break_while.c
#include <time.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

int main() {

    srand(time(NULL));

    while (1) {

        int r = rand() % 30;

        printf("%d ", r);

        if (r == 22) {

            break;
        }
    }

    printf("\n");

    return 0;
}

The example calculates a random value between 0..29. If it equals to 22, the loop is finished with the break statement.

$ ./break_while
27 17 21 12 25 5 8 6 10 24 9 19 4 19 1 13 18 22

C break with for

In the next example, we use a break statement with the for loop. With for(;;), we create and endless for loop, which we terminate using break.

break_for.c
#include <stdio.h>

int main() {

   char c;

   for(;;) {

      printf("Press any key, q to quit: ");

      scanf(" %c", &c);
      printf("%c\n", c);

      if (c == 'q') {
          break;
      }
   }
}

The example prints the entered character until the 'q' character terminates the program.

$ ./break_for 
Press any key, q to quit: s
s
Press any key, q to quit: e
e
Press any key, q to quit: w
w
Press any key, q to quit: q
q
$

C break with switch

In the following example, we use the break statement with the switch statement.

break_switch.c
#include <stdio.h>

int main() {

    printf("Are you sure to continue? y/n ");

    char c;

    scanf(" %c", &c);

    switch (c) {

        case 'y':

            printf("program continues\n");
            break;

        case 'n':

            printf("program stops\n");
            break;

        default:
            printf("wrong option\n");
    }
}

We are asked if we want to continue and we are given two options to choose: y or n.

case 'y':

    printf("program continues\n");
break;

For the 'y' a particular statement is executed. Then, the switch statement is terminated with break and no other options are evaluated.

In this tutorial we have covered the C break statement.