Java break & continue statements Explained [Easy Examples]

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Introduction to Java break and Java continue statements

The Java break and continue statements are used to manage program flow. We can use them in a loop to control loop iterations. These statements let us to control loops and switch statements by enabling us to either break out of the loop or jump to the next iteration by skipping the current loop iteration.

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In this tutorial, we will learn about the java break statement and java continue statements. We will cover how we can use them in a while and for loop by taking various examples. We will also see why the break statement is important in switch statements. In a nutshell, this tutorial is going to be one of the most informative tutorials about break and continue statements in Java programming language.

 

How Java break statement works (flow diagram)

The Java break statement is used to break the loop or switch statements. It breaks the current flow of the program at a specified condition. In the case of an inner loop, it breaks only the inner loop. The following is the simple diagram showing how the break statement works in a loop.

Java break & continue statements Explained [Easy Examples]

Notice that if the break statement/condition is TRUE then the loop will stop and exit. But if the break condition is FALSE, then body of the loop will be continue to be executed.

 

How Java continue statement works (flow diagram)

The Java continue statement is used to skip the body of the loop based on condition. So if the condition for continue statement is TRUE then it will skip executing the body of the loop and will go to the start of the loop but if the condition is FALSE then it will continue to go through the remaining body of the loop.

Java break & continue statements Explained [Easy Examples]

 

Using Java break and Java continue statements in a while loop

Java while loop is a control flow statement that allows code to be executed repeatedly based on a given Boolean condition. The while loop can be thought of as a repeating if statement. You can learn more about the while loop from the article java while loop. The break statement is used in the while loop to control the loop and exit/stop the loop once the specified condition is achieved and the java continue statement is used to skip the execution of the loop for some specified conditions.

In this section, we will learn how we can use a java break and java continue statements in a while loop by taking examples, but first, let us discuss the syntax of the java break and java continue statements in a while loop.

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Syntax of Java break statement in a while loop

Java break statement stops the while loop even if the initial condition is true. The simple syntax of break statement in a while loop looks like this.

while(condition){
    if(condition1){
        break;
    }
    // while loop statements
}

When the condition of the if statement inside the loops becomes true, the break statement will execute and the while loop will stop executing further.

 

Syntax of Java continue statement in a while loop

As we already discussed the java continue statement is used to skip the execution of the while loop for a specified condition. The simple syntax of the java continue statement looks like this:

while(condition){
    if(condition1){
        continue;
    }
}

When the condition of the if statement inside the while loop becomes true, the continue statement will execute, and the rest of the statements of the loop will be skipped and a new iteration will start.

 

Example-1 Java break statement in a while loop

Now let us take an example and see if the break statement really stops the while loop or not. We will create an infinite while loop by giving a condition that is always going to be true, then we will use the break statement to stop execution when a specific condition becomes true. See the example below:

// class
public class Main  { 
    public static void main(String[] args){
        // variable
        int num = 0;
        // while loop 
        while(true){
            // condition for break
            if (num>5){
                break;
            }
            // printing number
            System.out.println("counting...."+num);
            // incrementing the num
            num++;
        }
    }
}

Output:

counting....0
counting....1
counting....2
counting....3
counting....4
counting....5

Notice that the loop was an infinite loop because the condition in the loop was always true but because of the break statement, we were able to stop the execution of the while loop.

 

Example-2 Java continue statement in a while loop

Now let us take an example of a continue statement in a while loop. Let us say that we want to print the numbers from 1 to 10 skipping all the numbers that are divisible by 3. See the example below:

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// class
public class Main  { 
    public static void main(String[] args){
        // variable
        int num = 1;
        // while loop 
        while(num<11){
            // condition for continue
            if (num%3==0){
                num++;
                continue;
            }
            // printing number
            System.out.println("counting...."+num);
            // incrementing the num
            num++;
        }
    }
}

Output:

counting....1
counting....2
counting....4
counting....5
counting....7
counting....8
counting....10

Notice that the java continue statement skipped all the numbers that were divisible by 3.

 

Java break and continue statement in a for loop

Java for loop provides a concise way of writing the loop structure. The for statement consumes the initialization, condition, and increment/decrement in one line thereby providing a shorter, easy to debug structure of looping. You can read about the for loop from the article about java for loop.

In this section, we will discuss how we can use break and continue statement in a java for loop.

 

Syntax of Java break statement in a for loop

The syntax of break statement inside for loop is similar to that of while loop. See the simple syntax of break statement inside for loop below:

for(initializer; condition; update){
    if(condition1){
        break;
    }
    // for loop statements
}

When the condition of the if statement inside the for loop becomes true, the loop will be stopped.

 

Syntax of Java continue statement in a for loop

The syntax of the java continue statement inside a for loop is similar to the one in the while loop. See the simple syntax below:

for(initializer; condition; update){
    if(condition1){
        continue;
    }
    // for loop statements
}

When the condition inside the for loop becomes true, the continue statement will execute and all the other statements of the for loop will be skipped.

 

Example-1 Java break statement in a for loop

Now we know the basic syntax of the break statement in for loop, let us take a practical example and see how it actually works. In the following example, we will have an infinite for loop and we will use the break statement to stop execution once we get to number five.

// class
public class Main  { 
    public static void main(String[] args){
        // variable
        int num = 0;
        // java for loop
        for(; ;){
            // condition for break statement
            if(num==5){
                break;
            }
            // printing the number
            System.out.println("counting..."+num);
            num++;
        }
    }
}

Output:

counting...0
counting...1
counting...2
counting...3
counting...4

Notice that we were able to successfully stop the execution of an infinite for loop using the break statement.

 

Example-2 Java continue statement in a for loop

Now, let us see how we can use the continue statement in java for loop. In the following example, we will print all the numbers from 1 to 10 excluding the multiples of 3. See the example below:

// class
public class Main  { 
    public static void main(String[] args){
        // java for loop
        for(int i =1; i<=10; i++){
            // condition for continue statement
            if(i%3==0){
                break;
            }
            // printing the number
            System.out.println("counting..."+i);
        }
    }
}

Output:

counting...1
counting...2
counting...4
counting...5
counting...7
counting...8
counting...10

Notice that we were able to skip all the numbers divisible by 3.

 

Java break statement in a switch statement

The switch statement is a multi-way branch statement. It provides an easy way to dispatch execution to different parts of code based on the value of the expression. Basically, the expression can be a byte, short, char, and int primitive data types. You can read more about switch statements from an article java switch statements. In this section, we will see how we can use the break statement inside java switch statements. But first, let us see learn the syntax.

 

Syntax of Java break statement in a switch statement

The basic syntax of the Java break command in a switch statement is a little bit different than the while loop and for loop one. Because here we don't need to put if statement explicitly for a break statement. In fact, the cases act like if statements and we have to add the break command after each case. The simple syntax looks like this;

switch (key) {
    case value1:
        // statment
        break;
    case value2:
        // statment
        break;
    .
    . 
    .
    default:
        // statement
}

Notice that there are break statements after each case and when one of the cases becomes true, the break statement will be executed and stops the switch statement.

 

Example-1 Java break statement in switch statement

Now let us take an example and see how break statements in java switch works. See the example below:

public class Main  { 
    public static void main(String[] args){
        // variable
        int num = 4;
        // java switch
        switch(num){
            //case
            case 2:
                System.out.println("the number is 2");
                break;
            //case
            case 4:
                System.out.println("the number is 4");
                break;
            //case
            case 6:
                System.out.println("the number is 6");
                break;
            //default case
            default:
                System.out.println("We couldn't find the number");
        }
    }
}

Output:

the number is 4

Notice that once the case becomes true, the statements inside it were executed along with the break statement, and the switch statement's further execution stopped.

 

Summary

The Java break and continue statements are the jump statements that are used to skip some statements inside the loop or terminate the loop immediately without checking the test expression. These statements can be used inside any loops such as for, while, and switch statements. In this tutorial, we learned about the java break statement and the java continue statement.

We covered how we can use them in different java loops by taking various examples. Moreover, We also discussed the role of the break command in java switch statements by taking examples. All in all this tutorial covers all the necessary information that you need to know in order to start working with break and java continue statements.

 

Further Reading

Java break and continue
Java switch
Java loops

 

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