No increment operator in

I am fairly new to and came across this issue while converting a for loop in C# to I realized that the increment operators are not available in (++ and –) whereas i was able it do something like cnt +=1

I researched a bit and came across Eric’s post on the same, but wasn’t really able to understand fully on it. He mentions of In VB, a STATEMENT cannot be just an EXPRESSION. not sure how that really fits in.

I hope someone here would be able to explain why this doesn’t work in the same way as it does in C#. (Hope this will also hold true as in why we have == in C# for comparison)


I would say that the language designers simply thought that BASIC was a better baseline than C, when designing Visual BASIC. You can follow the lineage of C (and, earlier, BCPL) through C++, Java and C#.

The VB lineage comes from the original BASIC from Dartmouth (and, earlier, Fortran) and is a different beast altogether.

In other words, what started as the venerable BASIC:

LET I = I + 1

has probably been hacked and destroyed enough 🙂

As per Eric’s post, i++; is indeed just an expression, one that yields i with the side effect that i is incremented after the event (similar to the non-side-effect expression i;).

That’s because C allows these naked expressions, even things like 42; which doesn’t really do much but is perfectly valid. In other words, the following is a complete C program:

int main (void) { 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; return 0; }

All those expressions are valid but useless (except the 0 at the end of course).

In BASIC, this was not really done, because BASIC consisted of statements (things that did something). That’s why i += 1 (a statement incrementing i) is considered okay, but i++ (an expression doing nothing which just happens to have a side effect which increments i) isn’t. You could argue that it’s just semantic hair-splitting but that’s just the way it is.

You should be thankful for small mercies, at least you’re not having to deal with COBOL: