std::add_lvalue_reference, std::add_rvalue_reference

Defined in header <type_traits>
template< class T >
struct add_lvalue_reference;
(1) (since C++11)
template< class T >
struct add_rvalue_reference;
(2) (since C++11)

Creates a lvalue or rvalue reference type of T.

1) If T is a function type that has no cv- or ref- qualifier or an object type, provides a member typedef type which is T&. If T is an rvalue reference to some type U, then type is U&. Otherwise, type is T.
2) If T is a function type that has no cv- or ref- qualifier or an object type, provides a member typedef type which is T&&, otherwise type is T.

The behavior of a program that adds specializations for any of the templates described on this page is undefined.

Member types

Name Definition
type reference to T, or T if not allowed

Helper types

template< class T >
using add_lvalue_reference_t = typename add_lvalue_reference<T>::type;
(since C++14)
template< class T >
using add_rvalue_reference_t = typename add_rvalue_reference<T>::type;
(since C++14)


These type transformations honor reference collapse rules:

  • std::add_lvalue_reference<T&>::type is T&
  • std::add_lvalue_reference<T&&>::type is T&
  • std::add_rvalue_reference<T&>::type is T&
  • std::add_rvalue_reference<T&&>::type is T&&

The major difference to directly using T& is that std::add_lvalue_reference<void>::type is void, while void& leads to a compilation error.

Possible implementation

namespace detail {
template <class T>
struct type_identity { using type = T; }; // or use std::type_identity (since C++20)
template <class T> // Note that `cv void&` is a substitution failure
auto try_add_lvalue_reference(int) -> type_identity<T&>;
template <class T> // Handle T = cv void case
auto try_add_lvalue_reference(...) -> type_identity<T>;
template <class T>
auto try_add_rvalue_reference(int) -> type_identity<T&&>;
template <class T>
auto try_add_rvalue_reference(...) -> type_identity<T>;
} // namespace detail
template <class T>
struct add_lvalue_reference : decltype(detail::try_add_lvalue_reference<T>(0)) {};
template <class T>
struct add_rvalue_reference : decltype(detail::try_add_rvalue_reference<T>(0)) {};


#include <iostream>
#include <type_traits>
int main() {
   using nonref = int;
   using lref = typename std::add_lvalue_reference<nonref>::type;
   using rref = typename std::add_rvalue_reference<nonref>::type;
   using voidref = std::add_lvalue_reference_t<void>;
   std::cout << std::boolalpha;
   std::cout << std::is_lvalue_reference<nonref>::value << '\n';
   std::cout << std::is_lvalue_reference<lref>::value << '\n';
   std::cout << std::is_rvalue_reference<rref>::value << '\n';
   std::cout << std::is_reference_v<voidref> << '\n';



Defect reports

The following behavior-changing defect reports were applied retroactively to previously published C++ standards.

DR Applied to Behavior as published Correct behavior
LWG 2101 C++11 These transformation traits were required
to produce reference to cv-/ref-qualified function types.
Produce cv-/ref-qualified function types themselves.

See also

checks if a type is either a lvalue reference or rvalue reference
(class template)
removes a reference from the given type
(class template)
combines std::remove_cv and std::remove_reference
(class template)

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