CodeQL documentation

For loop variable changed in body

ID: cpp/loop-variable-changed
Kind: problem
Security severity: 
Severity: recommendation
Precision: high
   - reliability
   - readability
   - external/jsf
Query suites:
   - cpp-security-and-quality.qls

Click to see the query in the CodeQL repository

This rule finds for loop variables that are being modified in the loop body. for loops should be reserved for simple iteration, use while loops for more complicated cases. Most developers assume that the for loop iteration statement is the only thing that changes the value of the loop counter, so changing it inside the loop body can lead to confusion.


Use only the increment expression in the for loop to modify loop variables, or change it to a while loop if the loop requires more complicated variable iteration.


void f() {
	int i = 0;
	for (i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
		if (special_case) {
			i += 5; //Wrong: loop variable changed in body, which is contrary 
			        //to the usual expectation of for loop behavior. 
			        //Use a while loop instead.


  • AV Rule 201, Joint Strike Fighter Air Vehicle C++ Coding Standards. Lockheed Martin Corporation, 2005.

  • MISRA C++ Rule 6-5-3, Guidelines for the use of the C++ language in critical systems. The Motor Industry Software Reliability Associate, 2008.

  • For statements

  • Mats Henricson and Erik Nyquist, Industrial Strength C++, published by Prentice Hall PTR (1997). Chapter 4: Control Flow, Rule 4.1 (PDF).

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