What do you mean by function return in C language?

A function is a self-contained block that carries out a specific task.

The advantages of function in C language are as follows −

  • Reusability

  • The length program can be reduced.

  • It is easy to locate and isolate a wrong function.

  • It facilitates top-down modular programming.


Following is the C program for functions −

/*Function prototypes*/
/*Function Defination*/
"); }


  • In calculations, we generally expect a function to return a value. But, it may or may not accept the arguments.

  • This return value has a type int, float, char or anything else.

  • Default type of function is integer.


Another program for the function is as follows −

int total (){
   int a,b,c;
   return c; //it returns the c value i.e. prints the result


When the above program is executed, it produces the following result −


Instead of writing two steps,

return c;

We can replace with single-step like return a+b;

If you forget to return a value in a function, it returns the warning message in most of the C compilers. This message warns that you must return a value. Warnings may not stop the program execution but, errors stop it.

Example Program

Given below is the C program for return function −

int main(){
   return 0;

The default return value for an integer type is 0.

If you do not insert return 0 or any other value in your main() function a, 0 will be returned automatically.

If you want to return an int value in your function, it is preferred to mention the return value in your function header.

Returning from a Function

A function returns a single value by means of the return statement.

If the changes are made within the function to the variables, then they are local to that function. A calling function's variables are not affected by the actions of a called function.

The calling function chooses to ignore the value returned by the called function. For example, printf and scanf return values are usually ignored.

The value returned by a function is used in a more complex expression, or it may be assigned to a variable.

Updated on: 08-Mar-2021

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