What is the effect of trailing white space in a scanf() format string?

A whitespace character in a scanf format causes it to explicitly read and ignore as many whitespace characters as it can. So with scanf("%d ", ..., after reading a number, it will continue to read characters, discarding all whitespace until it sees a non-whitespace character on the input. That non-whitespace character will be left as the next character to be read by an input function.

With your code:

printf("enter a value for j ");

scanf("%d  ",&j);

printf("j is %d \n", j);

it will print the first line and then wait for you to enter a number, and then continue to wait for something after the number. So if you just type 5Enter, it will appear to hang — you need to type in another line with some non-whitespace character on it to continue. If you then type 6Enter, that will become the value for i, so your screen will look something like:

enter a value for j 5
j is 5
enter a value for i i is 6

Also, since most scanf %-conversions also skip leading whitespace (all except for %c, %[ and %n), spaces before %-conversions are irrelevant ("%d" and " %d" will act identically). So for the most part, you should avoid spaces in scanf conversions unless you know you specifically need them for their peculiar effect.

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