What Is the Difference Between an Anonymous Type and a Regular Data Type?


Heather Bennett

What Is the Difference Between an Anonymous Type and a Regular Data Type?

When it comes to programming, understanding the different types of data is essential. Two commonly used data types are anonymous types and regular data types.

While they may seem similar at first glance, there are some key differences between the two. In this article, we will delve into these differences and explore when to use each type.

Anonymous Types

Definition: An anonymous type is a dynamically created class that is generated by the compiler at runtime. It allows you to create objects without explicitly defining a class or struct.

Anonymous types are primarily used when you need to create instances of objects that don’t require any additional functionality or customization beyond their initial values. They are particularly useful in scenarios where you need to group multiple properties together temporarily.

Creating an Anonymous Type: To create an anonymous type, you use the new keyword followed by an object initializer with property names and values enclosed in curly braces. For example:

var person = new { Name = "John", Age = 25 };

In the above example, we define an anonymous type called person with two properties: Name, which stores the value “John”, and Age, which stores the value 25.

Regular Data Types

Definition: Regular data types, also known as named types, are predefined or user-defined types that have a fixed structure and behavior based on their definition.

Regular data types are used when you need more control over the structure and behavior of your objects. They allow you to define properties, methods, and other members that can be accessed and manipulated in a more explicit manner.

Creating a Regular Data Type: To create a regular data type, you define a class or struct with the desired properties, methods, and other members. For example:

public class Person
    public string Name { get; set; }
    public int Age { get; set; }

In the above example, we define a regular data type called Person with two properties: Name, which is of type string, and Age, which is of type int.

Differences Between Anonymous Types and Regular Data Types:

Now that we have explored the definitions of both anonymous types and regular data types, let’s highlight their differences:

  • Structure: Anonymous types are dynamically created classes without an explicit definition, while regular data types have a fixed structure defined by a class or struct.
  • Customization: Anonymous types are limited in terms of customization as they are read-only by default. Regular data types allow you to define custom behavior through methods and other members.
  • Type Inference: Anonymous types rely on implicit type inference by the compiler to determine the type of each property.

    Regular data types require explicit declaration of property types.

  • Persistence: Anonymous types can only be used within the scope where they are defined. Regular data types can be reused across different parts of your codebase.


In conclusion, the main difference between anonymous types and regular data types lies in their structure, customization options, type inference, and persistence. Anonymous types are useful for temporary objects that don’t require additional functionality, while regular data types provide more control and flexibility.

It’s important to choose the appropriate type based on your specific requirements in order to write clean and maintainable code.

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