What is the difference between IEnumerator and IEnumerable?


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Can anyone explain IEnumerable and IEnumerator to me?

What are the differences between IEnumerator and IEnumerable?

5/23/2017 12:09:36 PM

Accepted Answer

IEnumerable is an interface that defines one method GetEnumerator which returns an IEnumerator interface, this in turn allows readonly access to a collection. A collection that implements IEnumerable can be used with a foreach statement.



public IEnumerator GetEnumerator();


public object Current;
public void Reset();
public bool MoveNext();

example code from codebetter.com

3/9/2009 12:39:52 PM

An IEnumerator is a thing that can enumerate: it has the Current property and the MoveNext and Reset methods (which in .NET code you probably won't call explicitly, though you could).

An IEnumerable is a thing that can be enumerated...which simply means that it has a GetEnumerator method that returns an IEnumerator.

Which do you use? The only reason to use IEnumerator is if you have something that has a nonstandard way of enumerating (that is, of returning its various elements one-by-one), and you need to define how that works. You'd create a new class implementing IEnumerator. But you'd still need to return that IEnumerator in an IEnumerable class.

For a look at what an enumerator (implementing IEnumerator<T>) looks like, see any Enumerator<T> class, such as the ones contained in List<T>, Queue<T>, or Stack<T>. For a look at a class implementing IEnumerable, see any standard collection class.

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