7 Expressions [expr]

7.3 Standard conversions [conv]

7.3.1 Lvalue-to-rvalue conversion [conv.lval]

A glvalue of a non-function, non-array type T can be converted to a prvalue.55
If T is an incomplete type, a program that necessitates this conversion is ill-formed.
If T is a non-class type, the type of the prvalue is the cv-unqualified version of T.
Otherwise, the type of the prvalue is T.56
When an lvalue-to-rvalue conversion is applied to an expression e, and either
  • e is not potentially evaluated, or
  • the evaluation of e results in the evaluation of a member ex of the set of potential results of e, and ex names a variable x that is not odr-used by ex ([basic.def.odr]),
the value contained in the referenced object is not accessed.
struct S { int n; };
auto f() {
  S x { 1 };
  constexpr S y { 2 };
  return [&](bool b) { return (b ? y : x).n; };
auto g = f();
int m = g(false);   // undefined behavior due to access of x.n outside its lifetime
int n = g(true);    // OK, does not access y.n
end example
The result of the conversion is determined according to the following rules:
  • If T is cv std::nullptr_­t, the result is a null pointer constant ([conv.ptr]).
    Since the conversion does not access the object to which the glvalue refers, there is no side effect even if T is volatile-qualified ([intro.execution]), and the glvalue can refer to an inactive member of a union ([class.union]).
    end note
  • Otherwise, if T has a class type, the conversion copy-initializes the result object from the glvalue.
  • Otherwise, if the object to which the glvalue refers contains an invalid pointer value ([basic.stc.dynamic.deallocation], [basic.stc.dynamic.safety]), the behavior is implementation-defined.
  • Otherwise, the value contained in the object indicated by the glvalue is the prvalue result.
See also [basic.lval].
end note
For historical reasons, this conversion is called the “lvalue-to-rvalue” conversion, even though that name does not accurately reflect the taxonomy of expressions described in [basic.lval].
In C++ class and array prvalues can have cv-qualified types.
This differs from ISO C, in which non-lvalues never have cv-qualified types.