ReferenceEquals Method

Object.ReferenceEquals Method (Object, Object)


Determines whether the specified Object instances are the same instance.

Namespace:   System
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public static bool ReferenceEquals(
	object objA,
	object objB


Type: System.Object

The first object to compare.

Type: System.Object

The second object to compare.

Return Value

Type: System.Boolean

true if objA is the same instance as objB or if both are null; otherwise, false.

Unlike theEquals method and the equality operator, the ReferenceEquals method cannot be overridden. Because of this, if you want to test two object references for equality and you are unsure about the implementation of the Equals method, you can call the ReferenceEquals method.

However, the return value of the ReferenceEquals method may appear to be anomalous in these two scenarios:

  • When comparing value types. If objA and objB are value types, they are boxed before they are passed to the ReferenceEquals method. This means that if both objA and objB represent the same instance of a value type, the ReferenceEquals method nevertheless returns false, as the following example shows.

    using System;
    public class Example
       public static void Main()
          int int1 = 3;
          Console.WriteLine(Object.ReferenceEquals(int1, int1));
    // The example displays the following output:
    //       False
    //       True
  • When comparing strings. If objA and objB are strings, the ReferenceEquals method returns true if the string is interned. It does not perform a test for value equality. In the following example, s1 and s2 are equal because they are two instances of a single interned string. However, s3 and s4 are not equal, because although they are have identical string values, that string is not interned.

    using System;
    public class Example
       public static void Main()
          String s1 = "String1";
          String s2 = "String1";
          Console.WriteLine("s1 = s2: {0}", Object.ReferenceEquals(s1, s2));
          Console.WriteLine("{0} interned: {1}", s1, 
                            String.IsNullOrEmpty(String.IsInterned(s1)) ? "No" : "Yes");
          String suffix = "A";
          String s3 = "String" + suffix;
          String s4 = "String" + suffix;
          Console.WriteLine("s3 = s4: {0}", Object.ReferenceEquals(s3, s4));
          Console.WriteLine("{0} interned: {1}", s3, 
                            String.IsNullOrEmpty(String.IsInterned(s3)) ? "No" : "Yes");
    // The example displays the following output:
    //       s1 = s2: True
    //       String1 interned: Yes
    //       s3 = s4: False
    //       StringA interned: No

    For more information about string interning, see String.IsInterned.

The following example uses ReferenceEquals to determine if two objects are the same instance.

using System;

class MyClass {

   static void Main() {
      object o = null;
      object p = null;
      object q = new Object();

      Console.WriteLine(Object.ReferenceEquals(o, p));
      p = q;
      Console.WriteLine(Object.ReferenceEquals(p, q));
      Console.WriteLine(Object.ReferenceEquals(o, p));


This code produces the following output.



Universal Windows Platform
Available since 4.5
.NET Framework
Available since 1.1
Portable Class Library
Supported in: portable .NET platforms
Available since 2.0
Windows Phone Silverlight
Available since 7.0
Windows Phone
Available since 8.1
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