What Is Bubble Sort in Data Structure in C?


Larry Thompson

Are you new to the world of data structures and programming in C? If so, you might have come across the term “Bubble Sort”. In this article, we will explore what Bubble Sort is and how it works.

What is Bubble Sort?

Bubble Sort is a simple sorting algorithm that works by repeatedly stepping through the list to be sorted, comparing each pair of adjacent elements and swapping them if they are in the wrong order. The pass through the list is repeated until the list is sorted.

This algorithm gets its name from the way smaller elements “bubble” to the top of the list. It is one of the simplest sorting algorithms to understand and implement.

How does Bubble Sort work?

The basic idea behind Bubble Sort can be summarized in these steps:

  1. Start at the beginning: Begin at the first element of the list.
  2. Compare adjacent elements: Compare each pair of adjacent elements in the list and swap them if they are in the wrong order.
  3. Repeat until sorted: Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you reach the end of the list without any swaps. This indicates that the list is now sorted.

This process is illustrated below:

Initial List: [5, 3, 8, 4, 2]

Pass 1: [3, 5, 8, 4, 2] (swaps: 1)
Pass 2: [3, 5, 4, 2, 8] (swaps: 2)
Pass 3: [3, 4, 2, 5, 8] (swaps: 3)
Pass 4: [3, 2, 4, 5, 8] (swaps: 4)

Sorted List: [2, 3, 4, 5, 8]

As you can see, the algorithm repeatedly compares adjacent elements and swaps them if necessary. After each pass through the list, the largest unsorted element is “bubbled” to its correct position.

Complexity Analysis

Bubble Sort is known for its simplicity but is not very efficient compared to other sorting algorithms. It has an average and worst-case time complexity of O(n^2), where n is the number of elements in the list. This means that as the size of the list grows, Bubble Sort takes exponentially more time to sort it.

In terms of space complexity, Bubble Sort requires only a constant amount of additional memory since it performs in-place sorting.


Bubble Sort is a simple yet inefficient sorting algorithm that can be useful for small lists or educational purposes. However, for larger lists or performance-critical applications, it’s recommended to use more efficient sorting algorithms such as Quick Sort or Merge Sort.

Now that you understand how Bubble Sort works and its limitations, you can explore other sorting algorithms and continue your journey into the fascinating world of data structures and algorithms!

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