Fundamental Operations

Learn about fundamental operations on a variable in this lesson.

Regardless of its type, there are three fundamental operations throughout the lifetime of a variable:

  • Initialization: The start of its life
  • Assignment: Changing its value as a whole
  • Finalization: The end of its life

To be considered a variable, it must first be initialized. There may be final operations for some types. The value of a variable may change during its lifetime.


Every variable must be initialized before being used. Initialization involves two steps:

  1. Reserving space for the variable: This space is where the value of the variable is stored in memory.
  2. Construction: This step involves setting the first value of the variable on that space (or the first values of the members of structs and classes).

Every variable lives in a place in memory that is reserved for it. Some of the code that the compiler generates is about reserving space for each variable. Let’s consider the following variable:

int speed = 123;

As we have seen in the value types and reference types chapter, we can imagine this variable living on some part of the memory:

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