An identifier is a name given to a program element such as a variable, function, or array. This name may be used to refer to the program element without knowing its specific location in memory.

Identifiers in C must be strings of characters from the valid C character set, which includes all the letters of the English alphabet (both upper and lower case), the numbers 0-9, and the underscore. The first character of an identifier must NOT be a number and under no circumstances may an identifier contain a space.


All identifiers are case sensitive, so you can have two identical identifiers except for the case of the first character and they will be considered two completely different identifiers.

Also, according to the ANSI C standard, only the first 31 characters of an identifier are significant. So, if you had two 32 character identifiers differing only in the last character, some compilers would not recognize them as being different. With that said, most modern compilers far exceed the limit of 31 characters, allowing very long identifiers with many more significant characters.

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