What is the difference between String and string in C#?

Lance Fisher Source

Example (note the case):

string s = "Hello world!";
String s = "Hello world!";

What are the guidelines for the use of each? And what are the differences?

c#.netstringtypesalias

Answers

answered 10 years ago Derek Park #1

string is an alias in C# for System.String.
So technically, there is no difference. It's like int vs. System.Int32.

As far as guidelines, it's generally recommended to use string any time you're referring to an object.

e.g.

string place = "world";

Likewise, I think it's generally recommended to use String if you need to refer specifically to the class.

e.g.

string greet = String.Format("Hello {0}!", place);

This is the style that Microsoft tends to use in their examples.

It appears that the guidance in this area may have changed, as StyleCop now enforces the use of the C# specific aliases.

answered 10 years ago Ronnie #2

System.String is the .NET string class - in C# string is an alias for System.String - so in use they are the same.

As for guidelines I wouldn't get too bogged down and just use whichever you feel like - there are more important things in life and the code is going to be the same anyway.

If you find yourselves building systems where it is necessary to specify the size of the integers you are using and so tend to use Int16, Int32, UInt16, UInt32 etc. then it might look more natural to use String - and when moving around between different .net languages it might make things more understandable - otherwise I would use string and int.

answered 10 years ago urini #3

Lower case string is an alias for System.String. They are the same in C#.

There's a debate over whether you should use the System types (System.Int32, System.String, etc.) types or the C# aliases (int, string, etc). I personally believe you should use the C# aliases, but that's just my personal preference.

answered 10 years ago Luke Foust #4

The best answer I have ever heard about using the provided type aliases in C# comes from Jeffrey Richter in his book CLR Via C#. Here are his 3 reasons:

  • I've seen a number of developers confused, not knowing whether to use string or String in their code. Because in C# the string (a keyword) maps exactly to System.String (an FCL type), there is no difference and either can be used.
  • In C#, long maps to System.Int64, but in a different programming language, long could map to an Int16 or Int32. In fact, C++/CLI does in fact treat long as an Int32. Someone reading source code in one language could easily misinterpret the code's intention if he or she were used to programming in a different programming language. In fact, most languages won't even treat long as a keyword and won't compile code that uses it.
  • The FCL has many methods that have type names as part of their method names. For example, the BinaryReader type offers methods such as ReadBoolean, ReadInt32, ReadSingle, and so on, and the System.Convert type offers methods such as ToBoolean, ToInt32, ToSingle, and so on. Although it's legal to write the following code, the line with float feels very unnatural to me, and it's not obvious that the line is correct:
BinaryReader br = new BinaryReader(...);
float val  = br.ReadSingle(); // OK, but feels unnatural
Single val = br.ReadSingle(); // OK and feels good

So there you have it. I think these are all really good points. I however, don't find myself using Jeffrey's advice in my own code. Maybe I am too stuck in my C# world but I end up trying to make my code look like the framework code.

answered 10 years ago Mel #5

It's a matter of convention, really. string just looks more like C/C++ style. The general convention is to use whatever shortcuts your chosen language has provided (int/Int for Int32). This goes for "object" and decimal as well.

Theoretically this could help to port code into some future 64-bit standard in which "int" might mean Int64, but that's not the point, and I would expect any upgrade wizard to change any int references to Int32 anyway just to be safe.

answered 10 years ago user3296 #6

There is one difference - you can't use String without using System; beforehand.

answered 10 years ago Anthony Mastrean #7

I prefer the capitalized .NET types (rather than the aliases) for formatting reasons. The .NET types are colored the same as other object types (the value types are proper objects, after all).

Conditional and control keywords (like if, switch, and return) are lowercase and colored dark blue (by default). And I would rather not have the disagreement in use and format.

Consider:

String someString; 
string anotherString; 

answered 10 years ago Ishmael #8

Using System types makes it easier to port between C# and VB.Net, if you are into that sort of thing.

answered 10 years ago TheSoftwareJedi #9

string and String are identical in all ways (except the uppercase "S"). There are no performance implications either way.

Lowercase string is preferred in most projects due to the syntax highlighting

answered 10 years ago Hallgrim #10

string is just an alias for System.String. The compiler will treat them identically.

The only practical difference is the syntax highlighting as you mention, and that you have to write using System if you use String.

answered 10 years ago artur02 #11

String stands for System.String and it is a .NET Framework type. string is an alias in the C# language for System.String. Both of them are compiled to System.String in IL (Intermediate Language), so there is no difference. Choose what you like and use that. If you code in C#, I'd prefer string as it's a C# type alias and well-known by C# programmers.

I can say the same about (int, System.Int32) etc..

answered 10 years ago Pradeep Kumar Mishra #12

Both are same. But from coding guidelines perspective it's better to use string instead of String. This is what generally developers use. e.g. instead of using Int32 we use int as int is alias to Int32

FYI “The keyword string is simply an alias for the predefined class System.String.” - C# Language Specification 4.2.3 http://msdn2.microsoft.com/En-US/library/aa691153.aspx

answered 10 years ago Jon Skeet #13

Just for the sake of completeness, here's a brain dump of related information...

As others have noted, string is an alias for System.String. They compile to the same code, so at execution time there is no difference whatsoever. This is just one of the aliases in C#. The complete list is:

object:  System.Object
string:  System.String
bool:    System.Boolean
byte:    System.Byte
sbyte:   System.SByte
short:   System.Int16
ushort:  System.UInt16
int:     System.Int32
uint:    System.UInt32
long:    System.Int64
ulong:   System.UInt64
float:   System.Single
double:  System.Double
decimal: System.Decimal
char:    System.Char

Apart from string and object, the aliases are all to value types. decimal is a value type, but not a primitive type in the CLR. The only primitive type which doesn't have an alias is System.IntPtr.

In the spec, the value type aliases are known as "simple types". Literals can be used for constant values of every simple type; no other value types have literal forms available. (Compare this with VB, which allows DateTime literals, and has an alias for it too.)

There is one circumstance in which you have to use the aliases: when explicitly specifying an enum's underlying type. For instance:

public enum Foo : UInt32 {} // Invalid
public enum Bar : uint   {} // Valid

That's just a matter of the way the spec defines enum declarations - the part after the colon has to be the integral-type production, which is one token of sbyte, byte, short, ushort, int, uint, long, ulong, char... as opposed to a type production as used by variable declarations for example. It doesn't indicate any other difference.

Finally, when it comes to which to use: personally I use the aliases everywhere for the implementation, but the CLR type for any APIs. It really doesn't matter too much which you use in terms of implementation - consistency among your team is nice, but no-one else is going to care. On the other hand, it's genuinely important that if you refer to a type in an API, you do so in a language neutral way. A method called ReadInt32 is unambiguous, whereas a method called ReadInt requires interpretation. The caller could be using a language which defines an int alias for Int16, for example. The .NET framework designers have followed this pattern, good examples being in the BitConverter, BinaryReader and Convert classes.

answered 10 years ago TraumaPony #14

It's been covered above; however, you can't use string in reflection; you must use String.

answered 10 years ago Lloyd Cotten #15

As the others are saying, they're the same. StyleCop rules, by default, will enforce you to use string as a C# code style best practice, except when referencing System.String static functions, such as String.Format, String.Join, String.Concat, etc...

answered 10 years ago Simon_Weaver #16

string is a reserved word, but String is just a class name. This means that string cannot be used as a variable name by itself.

If for some reason you wanted a variable called string, you'd see only the first of these compiles:

StringBuilder String = new StringBuilder();  // compiles
StringBuilder string = new StringBuilder();  // doesn't compile 

If you really want a variable name called string you can use @ as a prefix:

StringBuilder @string = new StringBuilder();

Another critical difference: Stack Overflow highlights them differently.

answered 10 years ago Rasmus Faber #17

C# is a language which is used together with the CLR.

string is a type in C#.

System.String is a type in the CLR.

When you use C# together with the CLR string will be mapped to System.String.

Theoretically, you could implement a C#-compiler that generated Java bytecode. A sensible implementation of this compiler would probably map string to java.lang.String in order to interoperate with the Java runtime library.

answered 8 years ago claudioalpereira #18

I'd just like to add this to lfousts answer, from Ritchers book:

The C# language specification states, “As a matter of style, use of the keyword is favored over use of the complete system type name.” I disagree with the language specification; I prefer to use the FCL type names and completely avoid the primitive type names. In fact, I wish that compilers didn’t even offer the primitive type names and forced developers to use the FCL type names instead. Here are my reasons:

I didn't get his opinion before I read the complete paragraph.

answered 7 years ago user576533 #19

String is not a keyword and it can be used as Identifier whereas string is a keyword and cannot be used as Identifier. And in function point of view both are same.

answered 7 years ago RolandK #20

Against what seems to be common practice among other programmers, I prefer String over string, just to highlight the fact that String is a reference type, as Jon Skeet mentioned.

answered 7 years ago Dot NET #21

There is no difference between the two - string, however, appears to be the preferred option when considering other developers' source code.

answered 7 years ago JeeShen Lee #22

string is an alias (or shorthand) of System.String. That means, by typing string we meant System.String. You can read more in think link: 'string' is an alias/shorthand of System.String.

answered 7 years ago Oded #23

There is no difference.

The C# keyword string maps to the .NET type System.String - it is an alias that keeps to the naming conventions of the language.

Similarly, int maps to System.Int32.

answered 7 years ago Joe Alfano #24

String (System.String) is a class in the base class library. string (lower case) is a reserved work in C# that is an alias for System.String. Int32 vs int is a similar situation as is Boolean vs. bool. These C# language specific keywords enable you to declare primitives in a style similar to C.

answered 6 years ago Michael Ray Lovett #25

Coming late to the party: I use the CLR types 100% of the time (well, except if forced to use the C# type, but I don't remember when the last time that was).

I originally started doing this years ago, as per the CLR books by Ritchie. It made sense to me that all CLR languages ultimately have to be able to support the set of CLR types, so using the CLR types yourself provided clearer, and possibly more "reusable" code.

Now that I've been doing it for years, it's a habit and I like the coloration that VS shows for the CLR types.

The only real downer is that auto-complete uses the C# type, so I end up re-typing automatically generated types to specify the CLR type instead.

Also, now, when I see "int" or "string", it just looks really wrong to me, like I'm looking at 1970's C code.

answered 6 years ago Zaid Masud #26

One argument not mentioned elsewhere to prefer the pascal case String:

System.String is a reference type, and reference types names are pascal case by convention.

answered 6 years ago Inverted Llama #27

String refers to a string object which comes with various functions for manipulating the contained string.

string refers to a primitive type

In C# they both compile to String but in other languages they do not so you should use String if you want to deal with String objects and string if you want to deal with literals.

answered 6 years ago Coder #28

Yes, that's no difference between them, just like the bool and Boolean.

answered 5 years ago user2771704 #29

There's a quote on this issue from Daniel Solis' book.

All the predefined types are mapped directly to underlying .NET types. The C# type names (string) are simply aliases for the .NET types (String or System.String), so using the .NET names works fine syntactically, although this is discouraged. Within a C# program, you should use the C# names rather than the .NET names.

answered 5 years ago Shivprasad Koirala #30

This YouTube video demonstrates practically how they differ.

But now for a long textual answer.

When we talk about .NET there are two different things one there is .NET framework and the other there are languages ( C# , VB.NET etc) which use that framework.

enter image description here

"System.String" a.k.a "String" ( capital "S") is a .NET framework data type while "string" is a C# data type.

enter image description here

In short "String" is an alias ( the same thing called with different names) of "string". So technically both the below code statements will give the same output.

String s = "I am String";

or

string s = "I am String";

In the same way there are aliases for other c# data type as shown below:-

object: System.Object, string: System.String, bool: System.Boolean, byte: System.Byte, sbyte: System.SByte, short: System.Int16 and so on

Now the million dollar question from programmer's point of view So when to use "String" and "string"?

First thing to avoid confusion use one of them consistently. But from best practices perspective when you do variable declaration it's good to use "string" ( small "s") and when you are using it as a class name then "String" ( capital "S") is preferred.

In the below code the left hand side is a variable declaration and it declared using "string". At the right hand side we are calling a method so "String" is more sensible.

string s = String.ToUpper() ;

answered 5 years ago zap92 #31

There is practically no difference

The C# keyword string maps to the .NET type System.String - it is an alias that keeps to the naming conventions of the language.

answered 4 years ago Geeky Ninja #32

String: A String object is called immutable (read-only) because its value cannot be modified once it has been created. Methods that appear to modify a String object actually return a new String object that contains the modification. If it is necessary to modify the actual contents of a string-like object

string: The string type represents a sequence of zero or more Unicode characters. string is an alias for String in the .NET Framework. string is the intrinsic C# datatype, and is an alias for the system provided type "System.String". The C# specification states that as a matter of style the keyword (string) is preferred over the full system type name (System.String, or String). Although string is a reference type, the equality operators (== and !=) are defined to compare the values of string objects, not references. This makes testing for string equality more intuitive. For example:

Difference between string & String:

  • The string is usually used for declaration while String is used for accessing static string methods
  • You can use 'string' do declare fields, properties etc that use the predefined type 'string', since the C# specification tells me this is good style.
  • You can use 'String' to use system-defined methods, such as String.Compare etc. They are originally defined on 'System.String', not 'string'. 'string' is just an alias in this case.
  • You can also use 'String' or 'System.Int32' when communicating with other system, especially if they are CLR-compliant. i.e. - if I get data from elsewhere, I'd de-serialize it into a System.Int32 rather than an 'int', if the origin by definition was something else than a C# system.

answered 4 years ago Neel #33

string is a keyword, and you can't use string as an identifier.

String is not a keyword, and you can use it as an identifier:

Example

string String = "I am a string";

The keyword string is an alias for System.String aside from the keyword issue, the two are exactly equivalent.

 typeof(string) == typeof(String) == typeof(System.String)

answered 4 years ago Vijay Singh Rana #34

string is an alias for String in the .NET Framework.

Where "String" is in fact System.String.

I would say that they are interchangeable and there is no difference when and where you should use one or the other.

It would be better to be consistent with which one you did use though.

For what it's worth, I use string to declare types - variables, properties, return values and parameters. This is consistent with the use of other system types - int, bool, var etc (although Int32 and Boolean are also correct).

I use String when using the static methods on the String class, like String.Split() or String.IsNullOrEmpty(). I feel that this makes more sense because the methods belong to a class, and it is consistent with how I use other static methods.

answered 4 years ago Developer #35

As far as I know, string is just an alias for System.String, and similar aliases exist for bool, object, int... the only subtle difference is that you can use string without a "using System;" directive, while String requires it (otherwise you should specify System.String in full).

About which is the best to use, I guess it's a matter of taste. Personally I prefer string, but I it's not a religious issue.

answered 4 years ago InfZero #36

In the context of MSDN Documentation, String class is documented like any other data type (e.g., XmlReader, StreamReader) in the BCL.

And string is documented like a keyword (C# Reference) or like any basic C# language construct (e.g., for, while, default).

Reference.

answered 4 years ago Teter28 #37

You don't need import namespace (using System;) to use string because it is a global alias of System.String.

To know more about aliases you can check this link.

answered 4 years ago Jeppe Stig Nielsen #38

New answer after 6 years and 5 months (procrastination).

While string is a reserved C# keyword that always has a fixed meaning, String is just an ordinary identifier which could refer to anything. Depending on members of the current type, the current namespace and the applied using directives and their placement, String could be a value or a type distinct from global::System.String.

I shall provide two examples where using directives will not help.


First, when String is a value of the current type (or a local variable):

class MySequence<TElement>
{
  public IEnumerable<TElement> String { get; set; }

  void Example()
  {
    var test = String.Format("Hello {0}.", DateTime.Today.DayOfWeek);
  }
}

The above will not compile because IEnumerable<> does not have a non-static member called Format, and no extension methods apply. In the above case, it may still be possible to use String in other contexts where a type is the only possibility syntactically. For example String local = "Hi mum!"; could be OK (depending on namespace and using directives).

Worse: Saying String.Concat(someSequence) will likely (depending on usings) go to the Linq extension method Enumerable.Concat. It will not go to the static method string.Concat.


Secondly, when String is another type, nested inside the current type:

class MyPiano
{
  protected class String
  {
  }

  void Example()
  {
    var test1 = String.Format("Hello {0}.", DateTime.Today.DayOfWeek);
    String test2 = "Goodbye";
  }
}

Neither statement in the Example method compiles. Here String is always a piano string, MyPiano.String. No member (static or not) Format exists on it (or is inherited from its base class). And the value "Goodbye" cannot be converted into it.

answered 4 years ago Anuja Lamahewa #39

Both are the same.The difference is how you use it. Convention is,

string is for variables

String is for calling other String class methods

Like:

string fName = "John";
string lName = "Smith";

string fullName = String.Concat(fName,lName);

if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(fName))
{
  Console.WriteLine("Enter first name");
}

answered 3 years ago tic #40

In case it's useful to really see there is no difference between string and System.String:

var method1 = typeof(MyClass).GetMethod("TestString1").GetMethodBody().GetILAsByteArray();
var method2 = typeof(MyClass).GetMethod("TestString2").GetMethodBody().GetILAsByteArray();

//...

public string TestString1()
{
    string str = "Hello World!";
    return str;
}

public string TestString2()
{
    String str = "Hello World!";
    return str;
}

Both produce exactly the same IL byte array:

[ 0, 114, 107, 0, 0, 112, 10, 6, 11, 43, 0, 7, 42 ]

answered 3 years ago yazan_ati #41

As pointed out, they are the same thing and string is just an alias to String.

For what it's worth, I use string to declare types - variables, properties, return values and parameters. This is consistent with the use of other system types - int, bool, var etc (although Int32 and Boolean are also correct).

I use String when using the static methods on the String class, like String.Split() or String.IsNullOrEmpty(). I feel that this makes more sense because the methods belong to a class, and it is consistent with how I use other static methods.

answered 3 years ago Pritam Jyoti Ray #42

There is no difference between the two. You can use either of them in your code.

System.String is a class (reference type) defined the mscorlib in the namespace System. In other words, System.String is a type in the CLR.

string is a keyword in C#

answered 3 years ago Pratikgcet #43

String is nothing but an alias for String class. If you want to use the functions of the string class then you should use String else you should stick to string. For example, if you want to format a string then you should use the String class to use String.Format() but if you simple want to define the string then you should use string test=""; Please note that both of them are reference type.

answered 2 years ago hubot #44

To be honest, in practice usually there is not difference between System.String and string.

All types in C# are objects and all derives from System.Object class. One difference is that string is a C# keyword and String you can use as variable name. System.String is conventional .NET name of this type and string is convenient C# name. Here is simple program which presents difference between System.String and string.

string a = new string(new char[] { 'x', 'y', 'z' });
string b = new String(new char[] { 'x', 'y', 'z' });
String c = new string(new char[] { 'x', 'y', 'z' });
String d = new String(new char[] { 'x', 'y', 'z' });
MessageBox.Show((a.GetType() == typeof(String) && a.GetType() == typeof(string)).ToString()); // shows true
MessageBox.Show((b.GetType() == typeof(String) && b.GetType() == typeof(string)).ToString()); // shows true
MessageBox.Show((c.GetType() == typeof(String) && c.GetType() == typeof(string)).ToString()); // shows true
MessageBox.Show((d.GetType() == typeof(String) && d.GetType() == typeof(string)).ToString()); // shows true

@JonSkeet in my compiler

public enum Foo : UInt32 { }

is working. I've Visual Studio 2015 Community.

answered 2 years ago sayah imad #45

String : Represent a class

string : Represent an alias

It's just a coding convention from microsoft .

answered 2 years ago Saurabh #46

string is equal to System.String
in VS2015 if you write this

System.String str;

Than compiler will show potential fix to optimize it and after applying that fixe it will look like this

string str;

answered 12 months ago DavidWainwright #47

I prefer to use string because this type is used so much that I don't want the syntax highlighter blending it in with all the other classes. Although it is a class it is used more like a primitive therefore I think the different highlight colour is appropriate.

If you right click on the string keyword and select Go to definition from the context menu it'll take you to the String class - it's just syntactic sugar but it improves readability imo.

answered 11 months ago Jineesh Uvantavida #48

A string is a sequential collection of characters that is used to represent text.

A String object is a sequential collection of System.Char objects that represent a string; a System.Char object corresponds to a UTF-16 code unit.

The value of the String object is the content of the sequential collection of System.Char objects, and that value is immutable (that is, it is read-only).

For more information about the immutability of strings, see the Immutability and the StringBuilder class section in msdn.

The maximum size of a String object in memory is 2GB, or about 1 billion characters.

Note : answer is extracted from msdn help section. You can see the full content here in msdn String Class topic under Remarks section

answered 9 months ago Taslim #49

In C#, string is the short version of System.String (String). They basically mean the same thing.

Like someone mentioned, it's just like bool and Boolean, not much difference..

answered 9 months ago Həsən Cəfərov #50

string is short name of System.String. String or System.String is name of string in CTS(Common Type System).

answered 9 months ago BanksySan #51

There is one practical difference between string and String.

nameof(String); // compiles
nameof(string); // doesn't compile

This is because string is a keyword (an alias in this case) whereas String is a type.

The same is true for the other aliases as well.

| Alias     | Type             |
|-----------|------------------|
|  bool     |  System.Boolean  |
|  byte     |  System.Byte     |
|  sbyte    |  System.SByte    |
|  char     |  System.Char     |
|  decimal  |  System.Decimal  |
|  double   |  System.Double   |
|  float    |  System.Single   |
|  int      |  System.Int32    |
|  uint     |  System.UInt32   |
|  long     |  System.Int64    |
|  ulong    |  System.UInt64   |
|  object   |  System.Object   |
|  short    |  System.Int16    |
|  ushort   |  System.UInt16   |
|  string   |  System.String   |

answered 9 months ago v.slobodzian #52

Jeffrey Richter written:

Another way to think of this is that the C# compiler automatically assumes that you have the following using directives in all of your source code files:

using int = System.Int32;
using uint = System.UInt32;
using string = System.String;
...

I’ve seen a number of developers confused, not knowing whether to use string or String in their code. Because in C# string (a keyword) maps exactly to System.String (an FCL type), there is no difference and either can be used.

answered 8 months ago wild coder #53

First of All, both(string & String) are not same. There is a difference: String is not a keyword and it can be used as Identifier whereas string is a keyword and cannot be used as Identifier.

I am trying to explain with different example : First, when I put "string s;" into Visual Studio and hover over it I get (without the color):
String Definition

That says that string is System.String, right? The documentation is at https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/362314fe.aspx. The second sentence says "string is an alias for String in the .NET Framework.".

answered 3 months ago Jaider #54

As you already know string is just alias for System.String. But what should I use? it just personal preference.

In my case, I love to use string rather than use System.String because String requires a namespace using System; or a full name System.String.

So I believe the alias string was created for simplicity and I love it!

answered 3 months ago BerBar #55

string is a shortcut for System.String. The only difference is that you don´t need to reference to System.String namespace. So would be better using string than String.

answered 2 days ago Burak Yeniçeri #56

String is the class of string. If you remove System namespace from using statements, you can see that String has gone but string is still here. string is keyword for String. Like
int and Int32
short and Int16
long and Int64

So the keywords are just some words that uses a class. These keywords are specified by C#(so Microsoft, because C# is Microsoft's). Briefly, there's no difference. Using string or String. That doesn't matter. They are same.

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