[SOLVED] How do I check if a variable is of a certain type (compare two types) in C?


In C (not C++/C#) how do I check if a variable is of a certain type?

For example, something like this:

double doubleVar;
if( typeof(doubleVar) == double ) {
    printf("doubleVar is of type double!");

Or more general: How do I compare two types so that compare(double1,double2) will evaluate to true, and compare(int,double) will evaluate to false. Also I’d like to compare structs of different composition as well.

Basically, I have a function that operates on variables of type “struct a” and “struct b”. I want to do one thing with the “struct a” variables and the other with the “struct b” variables. Since C doesn’t support overloading and the void pointer losses its type information I need to check for type. BTW, what would be the sense in having a typeof operator, if you can’t compare types?

The sizeof method seems to be a practical workaround solution for me. Thanks for your help. I still find it a bit strange since the types are known at compile time, but if I imagine the processes in the machine I can see, why the information is not stored in terms of types, but rather in terms of byte size. Size is the only thing really relevant besides addresses.


Getting the type of a variable is, as of now, possible in C11 with the _Generic generic selection. It works at compile-time.

The syntax is a bit like that for switch. Here’s a sample (from this answer):

    #define typename(x) _Generic((x),                                                 \
            _Bool: "_Bool",                  unsigned char: "unsigned char",          \
             char: "char",                     signed char: "signed char",            \
        short int: "short int",         unsigned short int: "unsigned short int",     \
              int: "int",                     unsigned int: "unsigned int",           \
         long int: "long int",           unsigned long int: "unsigned long int",      \
    long long int: "long long int", unsigned long long int: "unsigned long long int", \
            float: "float",                         double: "double",                 \
      long double: "long double",                   char *: "pointer to char",        \
           void *: "pointer to void",                int *: "pointer to int",         \
          default: "other")

To actually use it for compile-time manual type checking, you can define an enum with all of the types you expect, something like this:

    enum t_typename {
        /* ... */

And then use _Generic to match types to this enum:

    #define typename(x) _Generic((x),                                                       \
            _Bool: TYPENAME_BOOL,           unsigned char: TYPENAME_UNSIGNED_CHAR,          \
             char: TYPENAME_CHAR,             signed char: TYPENAME_SIGNED_CHAR,            \
        short int: TYPENAME_SHORT_INT, unsigned short int: TYPENAME_UNSIGNED_SHORT_INT,     \
              int: TYPENAME_INT,                     \
        /* ... */                                    \
            int *: TYPENAME_POINTER_TO_INT,          \
          default: TYPENAME_OTHER)

Answered By – user3079266

Answer Checked By – Robin (BugsFixing Admin)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.