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A.5.6 Pointer arithmetic

Visual Studio .NET 2003

In an unsafe context, the + (Section 7.7.4) and - operators (Section 7.7.5) can be applied to values of all pointer types except void*. Thus, for every pointer type T*, the following operators are implicitly defined:

T* operator +(T* x, int y);
T* operator +(T* x, uint y);
T* operator +(T* x, long y);
T* operator +(T* x, ulong y);
T* operator +(int x, T* y);
T* operator +(uint x, T* y);
T* operator +(long x, T* y);
T* operator +(ulong x, T* y);
T* operator –(T* x, int y);
T* operator –(T* x, uint y);
T* operator –(T* x, long y);
T* operator –(T* x, ulong y);
long operator –(T* x, T* y);

Given an expression P of a pointer type T* and an expression N of type int, uint, long, or ulong, the expressions P + N and N + P compute the pointer value of type T* that results from adding N * sizeof(T) to the address given by P. Likewise, the expression P - N computes the pointer value of type T* that results from subtracting N * sizeof(T) from the address given by P.

Given two expressions, P and Q, of a pointer type T*, the expression P Q computes the difference between the addresses given by P and Q and then divides that difference by sizeof(T). The type of the result is always long. In effect, P - Q is computed as ((long)(P) - (long)(Q)) / sizeof(T).

For example:

using System;
class Test
{
   static void Main() {
      unsafe {
         int* values = stackalloc int[20];
         int* p = &values[1];
         int* q = &values[15];
         Console.WriteLine("p - q = {0}", p - q);
         Console.WriteLine("q - p = {0}", q - p);
      }
   }
}

which produces the output:

p - q = -14
q - p = 14

If a pointer arithmetic operation overflows the domain of the pointer type, the result is truncated in an implementation-defined fashion, but no exceptions are produced.

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