Swift - Basic Syntax

We have already seen a piece of Swift 4 program while setting up the environment. Let's start once again with the following Hello, World! program created for OS X playground, which includes import Cocoa as shown below −

/* My first program in Swift 4 */
var myString = "Hello, World!"


If you create the same program for iOS playground, then it will include import UIKit and the program will look as follows −

import UIKit
var myString = "Hello, World!"

When we run the above program using an appropriate playground, we will get the following result −

Hello, World!

Let us now see the basic structure of a Swift 4 program, so that it will be easy for you to understand the basic building blocks of the Swift 4 programming language.

Import in Swift 4

You can use the import statement to import any Objective-C framework (or C library) directly into your Swift 4 program. For example, the above import cocoa statement makes all Cocoa libraries, APIs, and runtimes that form the development layer for all of OS X, available in Swift 4.

Cocoa is implemented in Objective-C, which is a superset of C, so it is easy to mix C and even C++ into your Swift 4 applications.

Tokens in Swift 4

A Swift 4 program consists of various tokens and a token is either a keyword, an identifier, a constant, a string literal, or a symbol. For example, the following Swift 4 statement consists of three tokens −

The individual tokens are:


Comments are like helping texts in your Swift 4 program. They are ignored by the compiler. Multi-line comments start with /* and terminate with the characters */ as shown below −

/* My first program in Swift 4 */

Multi-line comments can be nested in Swift 4. Following is a valid comment in Swift 4 −

/* My first program in Swift 4 is Hello, World!
/* Where as second program is Hello, Swift 4! */ */

Single-line comments are written using // at the beginning of the comment.

// My first program in Swift 4


Swift 4 does not require you to type a semicolon (;) after each statement in your code, though it’s optional; and if you use a semicolon, then the compiler does not complain about it.

However, if you are using multiple statements in the same line, then it is required to use a semicolon as a delimiter, otherwise the compiler will raise a syntax error. You can write the above Hello, World! program as follows −

/* My first program in Swift 4 */
var myString = "Hello, World!"; print(myString)


A Swift 4 identifier is a name used to identify a variable, function, or any other userdefined item. An identifier starts with an alphabet A to Z or a to z or an underscore _ followed by zero or more letters, underscores, and digits (0 to 9).

Swift 4 does not allow special characters such as @, $, and % within identifiers. Swift 4 is a case sensitive programming language. Thus, Manpower and manpower are two different identifiers in Swift 4. Here are some examples of acceptable identifiers −

Azad        zara   abc   move_name   a_123
myname50    _temp  j     a23b9       retVal

To use a reserved word as an identifier, you will need to put a backtick (`) before and after it. For example, class is not a valid identifier, but `class` is valid.


The following keywords are reserved in Swift 4. These reserved words may not be used as constants or variables or any other identifier names, unless they're escaped with backticks −

Keywords used in declarations

Class deinit Enum extension
Func import Init internal
Let operator private protocol
public static struct subscript
typealias var

Keywords used in statements

break case continue default
do else fallthrough for
if in return switch
where while

Keywords used in expressions and types

as dynamicType false is
nil self Self super

Keywords used in particular contexts

associativity convenience dynamic didSet
final get infix inout
lazy left mutating none
nonmutating optional override postfix
precedence prefix Protocol required
right set Type unowned
weak willSet


A line containing only whitespace, possibly with a comment, is known as a blank line, and a Swift 4 compiler totally ignores it.

Whitespace is the term used in Swift 4 to describe blanks, tabs, newline characters, and comments. Whitespaces separate one part of a statement from another and enable the compiler to identify where one element in a statement, such as int, ends and the next element begins. Therefore, in the following statement −

var age

There must be at least one whitespace character (usually a space) between var and age for the compiler to be able to distinguish them. On the other hand, in the following statement −

int fruit = apples + oranges   //get the total fruits

No whitespace characters are necessary between fruit and =, or between = and apples, although you are free to include some for better readability.

Space on both side of a operator should be equal, for eg.

int fruit = apples +oranges    //is a wrong statement
int fruit = apples + oranges   //is a Correct statement


A literal is the source code representation of a value of an integer, floating-point number, or string type. The following are examples of literals −

92               // Integer literal
4.24159          // Floating-point literal
"Hello, World!"  // String literal

Printing in Swift

To print anything in swift we have ‘ print ‘ keyword.

Print has three different properties.

Items – Items to be printed

Separator – separator between items

Terminator – the value with which line should end, let’s see a example and syntax of same.

print("Items to print", separator: "Value " , terminator: "Value")
// E.g. of print statement.

print("Value one")
// prints "Value one \n" Adds, \n as terminator and " " as separator by

print("Value one","Value two", separator: " Next Value" , terminator: " End")
//prints "Value one Next Value Value two End"

In the above code first print statement adds \n , newline Feed as terminator by default, where as in second print statement we’ve given " End " as terminator, hence it’ll print "End " instead of \n.

We can give our custom separator and terminators according to our requirement.

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