Why Does std::getline(cin, number) Give a ‘No Matching Function for Call’ Error?

Why Does std::getline(cin, number) Give a 'No Matching Function for Call' Error?

Have you ever encountered the ‘no matching function for call’ error while using std::getline with cin for numbers in C++? This issue can be quite perplexing, but fret not as we delve into the reasons behind this error and provide insightful solutions to tackle it. Understanding why does std getline cin number give a ‘no matching function for call’ error is crucial for enhancing your C++ programming skills and ensuring smooth execution of your code.

Let’s explore the intricacies of this problem and discover effective ways to resolve it.

Troubleshooting std::getline Error

Let’s address the issue with std::getline and the “no matching function” error.

  1. The Problem:
    When you encounter the “no matching function to call for ‘getline'” error, it means that the compiler cannot find a suitable version of the std::getline function based on the arguments you provided.

  2. Understanding std::getline:

    • std::getline is used to read an entire line of text from an input stream (such as cin) into a string.
    • It takes three parameters:
      • The input stream (cin in your case).
      • The string where the input will be stored.
      • The delimiter (optional) that specifies when to stop reading (usually the newline character '\\n').
  3. Common Mistakes and Solutions:

    • Incorrect Delimiter:
      • The third parameter of std::getline should be a character (not a string).
      • Instead of getline(cin, my_name, "\\\\n"), use getline(cin, my_name); to read until the newline character.
      • The correct delimiter is '\\n', not "\\\\n" (which is a char array literal).
    • Formatted Extraction:
      • Your teacher’s statement about cin “breaking” is not accurate.
      • cin reads word by word, which is intentional behavior.
      • std::getline is designed to read entire lines, but it works with std::string, not character arrays.
  4. Corrected Code Example:

    using namespace std;
    int main() {
        string my_name;
        cout << "Please enter your name: ";
        getline(cin, my_name); // Read the entire line
        cout << "My name is " << my_name << ".";
  5. Additional Notes:

    • Ensure you have included the necessary headers (e.g., and ).
    • If you encounter further issues, check your overall code structure and any other potential errors.

Understanding std::getline() Function in C++

The std::getline() function in C++ serves the purpose of reading strings or lines from an input stream. Let’s delve into the details:

  1. Function Signature:

    • The std::getline() function is part of the header.
    • It has two primary forms:
      • Syntax 1: istream& getline(istream& is, string& str, char delim);
        • is: An object of the istream class that specifies the input stream to read from.
        • str: A string object where the input is stored after being read from the stream.
        • delim: The delimiting character that indicates when to stop reading further input.
      • Syntax 2: istream& getline(istream& is, string& str);
        • In this form, the newline character ('\\n') serves as the default delimiter.
  2. How It Works:

    • The getline() function extracts characters from the input stream until it encounters the specified delimiter or reaches the end of the stream.
    • The extracted characters are appended to the string object.
    • If the string object already contains a value, it will be replaced by the newly read input.
  3. Example Usage:

    using namespace std;
    int main() {
        string name, city, profession;
        cout << "Enter your name: ";
        getline(cin, name);
        cout << "Enter your city: ";
        getline(cin, city);
        cout << "Enter your profession (press $ to complete): ";
        getline(cin, profession, '$');
        cout << "\\nEntered details are:\\n\\n";
        cout << "Name: " << name << endl;
        cout << "City: " << city << endl;
        cout << "Profession: " << profession << endl;
    • In this example, the user inputs their name, city, and profession. The $ character serves as the delimiter for the profession input.

Remember that if you exceed the defined limits (such as the maximum length of the name), the program will stop execution and exit. So, use std::getline()

Importance of Data Types in Programming

Understanding data types in programming is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Memory Allocation: Different data types require varying amounts of memory. By choosing the appropriate data type, developers can optimize memory usage and improve program efficiency.

  2. Data Integrity: Using the correct data types helps maintain the integrity of the data being manipulated. When data is collected in the preferred format, it ensures that calculations, comparisons, and other operations yield accurate results.

  3. Error Detection: Enforcing data types allows early detection of errors such as type mismatches. By catching these issues during compilation or interpretation, developers can prevent runtime errors and enhance the overall reliability of their code.

Now, let’s delve into the specifics of data types:

  • Primitive Data Types: These are predefined data types that serve as the foundation for more complex types. Examples include:

    • Integer (int): Represents whole numbers without fractions (e.g., 300, 0, -300).
    • Floating Point (float): Represents numbers with fractions (e.g., 34.67, 56.99, -78.09).
    • Character (char): Represents single letters, digits, punctuation marks, symbols, or blank spaces.
  • Composite Data Types: These are made up of various primitive types and are typically user-defined. They fall into four main categories:

    • Semi-structured: Stores data as a set of relationships.
    • Multimedia: Stores data as images, music, or videos.
    • Homogeneous: Requires all values to be of the same data type.
    • Tabular: Stores data in tabular form.
  • User-Defined Data Types (UDTs): Developers can create customized data types by deriving from existing ones. UDTs allow flexibility in representing specific concepts or structures.


  1. GeeksforGeeks: Data Types in Programming
  2. Enjoy Machine Learning: What Is A Data Type

Converting input from std::getline() to a numeric type in C++

Let’s break down the code snippet you provided and understand how it converts input obtained using std::getline() into a numeric type in C++.

using namespace std;

int main() {
    string input = "";
    const int ARRAY_LENGTH = 5;
    int MyNumbers[ARRAY_LENGTH] = {0};

    cout << "Enter index of the element to be changed: ";
    int nElementIndex = 0;
    while (true) {
        getline(cin, input); // Extracts data from the input stream cin and stores it in 'input'
        stringstream myStream(input); // Creates a new stream using the string in 'input'

        if (myStream >> nElementIndex) // Extracts a number from the stringstream into 'nElementIndex'
            break; // Stops the loop
        cout << "Invalid number, try again" << endl;

    cout << "Enter new value for element " << nElementIndex + 1 << " at index " << nElementIndex << ": ";
    cin >> MyNumbers[nElementIndex];
    cout << "\\nThe new value for element " << nElementIndex + 1 << " is " << MyNumbers[nElementIndex] << "\\n";

    return 0;

Here’s what’s happening step by step:

  1. The program prompts the user to input the index of the element they want to change.
  2. getline(cin, input) reads a line of input from the user and stores it in the input string.
  3. stringstream myStream(input) creates a new stream using the contents of input.
  4. myStream >> nElementIndex attempts to extract a number from myStream and store it in nElementIndex. If successful, the loop breaks; otherwise, an error message is displayed.
  5. The user is then prompted to enter a new value for the specified element.
  6. The updated value is stored in the MyNumbers array.
  7. Finally, cin.get() ensures that any remaining input is consumed.

In summary, std::getline() reads a line of input as a string, and std::stringstream is used to convert that string to a numeric value. The >> operator extracts the numeric value from the stream.

Remember that this approach is more complex than using cin >> some_variable, but it provides more flexibility when dealing with non-numeric input or more complex data structures. If you’re specifically looking to read only numbers, consider using std::stoi or other conversion functions .

Understanding the Error

The error message “no matching function for call” in C++ typically occurs when the compiler cannot find a suitable function to match the arguments you’ve provided. Let’s break down the issue and explore potential solutions:

  1. Understanding the Error:

    • The error message indicates that the compiler couldn’t find a function with the specified argument types.
    • In your case, it’s related to the person class and its copy function.
  2. Your Code:

    class person {
        void copy(char*&, const char*&);
        char* name, *fathername, *address;
    void person::copy(char*& n, const char*& p) {
        int result = strcmp(n, p);
        if (result != 0) {
            n = new char[strlen(p) + 1];
            strcpy(n, p);
            n[strlen(p)] = '\\0';
    person::person(person& object) {
        copy(name, object.name);
        copy(fathername, object.fathername);
        copy(address, object.address);
  3. Issues in Your Code:

    • The copy function takes char*& and const char*& arguments. However, the copy constructor (person::person) is trying to call this function with char* arguments.
    • The copy constructor should take a const person& argument to avoid modifying the original object during copying.
  4. Suggested Improvements:

    • Use std::string instead of raw C-style strings (char*). This simplifies memory management and avoids memory leaks.

    • Here’s an improved version of your person class using std::string:

      class Person {
          Person(const Person&); // Use const reference
          std::string name, fathername, address;
      Person::Person(const Person& object) {
          name = object.name;
          fathername = object.fathername;
          address = object.address;
  5. Benefits of Using std::string:

    • No manual memory management (no need to allocate/deallocate memory).
    • Safer and more idiomatic C++ code.
    • Automatic copy constructor and assignment operator generation.
  6. Conclusion:

    • Consider using std::string for string handling in C++ to avoid such issues.
    • If you still want to work with C-style strings, ensure that the copy constructor takes a const person& argument and adjust the copy function accordingly.

Remember, embracing modern C++ features like std::string can lead to cleaner, safer, and more maintainable code! .

In conclusion, the ‘no matching function for call’ error when using std::getline with cin for numbers in C++ can be attributed to a mismatch between the function signature and the provided arguments. By carefully examining your code, ensuring proper data types, and making necessary adjustments, you can overcome this error seamlessly. Remember, embracing modern practices like using std::string for string handling can significantly simplify your code and eliminate such issues.

Always strive for clarity, efficiency, and best practices in your C++ development endeavors to achieve optimal results and enhance your programming prowess.


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