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Object in C++ vs. Class in C++: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on February 15, 2024
In C++, a class is a blueprint for creating objects, defining attributes and behaviors, while an object is an instance of a class with actual values.

Key Differences

In C++, a class is a user-defined data type that serves as a blueprint for creating objects. It defines properties and behaviors that the objects created from it will have. An object, however, is an instance of a class, endowed with the class's defined properties and capable of performing the defined behaviors.
A class in C++ is essentially a template that specifies what member variables and member functions an object of this class will have. In contrast, an object is a concrete manifestation of a class, with actual values assigned to the member variables and the ability to interact with its member functions.
When a class is defined in C++, no memory is allocated until an object of that class is created. Creating an object from a class (instantiation) allocates memory for the object and allows it to be used in a program. This distinction highlights the class as a passive blueprint and the object as an active entity in memory.
Classes in C++ encapsulate data for security and reusability, defining what an object will be but not existing as a tangible entity in the program. On the other hand, an object is a specific instance that not only embodies the structure of the class but also holds real-time data.
Inheritance in C++ allows classes to inherit properties from other classes, promoting code reusability. However, objects cannot inherit directly from other objects or classes. They are merely instances of a single class or a class derived from a base class.

Comparison Chart


An instance of a class with actual values
A blueprint defining attributes and behaviors

Memory Allocation

Occurs when an object is instantiated
No memory allocated when a class is defined

Role in Program

Active entity in memory
Passive template for objects

Data Storage

Holds actual data values
Does not hold data, only defines structure


Cannot inherit, but is an instance of a class
Can inherit or be inherited from other classes

Object in C++ and Class in C++ Definitions

Object in C++

In C++, an object represents a single entity constructed from the structure of its class.
Dog myDog; where myDog is an object of the Dog class with its own attributes.

Class in C++

Classes in C++ encapsulate data and functions, serving as templates for objects.
Class Student { /*...*/ }; defines a structure for Student objects.

Object in C++

Objects in C++ are entities that hold actual states and behaviors as defined in their class.
Account savingsAccount; creates an object savingsAccount of the Account class.

Class in C++

Classes in C++ provide the structure for objects, defining what attributes and methods they can have.
Class Account { /*...*/ }; sets up the blueprint for Account objects.

Object in C++

An object in C++ is an instance of a class with specific values and functionalities.
Car myCar; creates an object myCar of class Car.

Class in C++

A class in C++ is a blueprint for creating objects, defining their properties and functionalities.
Class Car { /*...*/ }; defines a Car class.

Object in C++

Objects in C++ are the practical realization of classes, equipped with data members and member functions.
Student bob; creates an object bob of the Student class.

Class in C++

In C++, a class defines a new type by grouping variables and functions into a single unit.
Class Dog { /*...*/ }; groups attributes and behaviors of a Dog.

Object in C++

An object is a variable of a class type in C++, embodying the attributes and methods defined in the class.
Circle circle1; instantiates an object circle1 from the Circle class.

Class in C++

A class is a user-defined data type in C++ that specifies the form of objects.
Class Circle { /*...*/ }; outlines the structure for Circle objects.


How does an object in C++ interact with data?

Objects access and modify data through their class-defined methods.

What is an object in C++?

An object in C++ is an instance of a class, containing real data and functions.

Can objects in C++ have different values?

Yes, each object of the same class can hold different values for its attributes.

How does a class in C++ define an object?

A class specifies the attributes and methods that its objects will have.

Can classes in C++ exist without objects?

Yes, classes can exist without creating any objects.

How is an object created in C++?

An object is created by declaring a variable of a class type.

Do objects in C++ share functions?

Objects share the member functions defined in their class.

Are classes in C++ reusable?

Yes, classes are reusable templates for creating multiple objects.

Do classes in C++ consume memory?

Classes themselves don't consume memory; memory is used when objects are created.

What is a class in C++?

A class in C++ is a blueprint that defines the structure for objects.

Can objects in C++ have methods not defined in the class?

No, objects can only have methods defined in their class.

How do objects in C++ achieve functionality?

Objects achieve functionality through the methods defined in their class.

What role do constructors play in C++ objects?

Constructors initialize objects with specific values or settings.

Do objects in C++ maintain their own copy of class data?

Objects maintain their own copies of non-static data members.

Do objects in C++ have direct access to private class members?

Objects can access private members only through public methods of their class.

Can a class in C++ contain only functions?

Yes, a class can contain only functions, acting like an interface.

How are objects and classes related in C++?

Objects are instances of classes, embodying the structure defined by the class.

Can a class in C++ inherit from multiple classes?

Yes, C++ supports multiple inheritance for classes.

What is the significance of static members in C++ classes?

Static members are shared among all objects of a class and not tied to any specific object.

Is inheritance applicable to objects in C++?

Objects inherit properties and methods from their class, which may inherit from other classes.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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