Given two strings, for example

s1 = "Valentino Rossi" (which may contain as many spaces between the 2 words as I like)
s2 = "Vale"

I have to create a function that requests these two strings and that it outputs another one like this one: "Valentino (Vale) Rossi".

So for example if I have

s1 = "Mario Belli"
s2 = "Mar"

the returned string must be "Mario (Mar) Belli".

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>
#define STR_LEN 32

char *makeNickname(char *s1, char *s2, char *s3);

int main() {
    char nomeCognome[] = "Corrado     Righetti"; 
    char nickname[] = "Cora";
    char nameNickname[STR_LEN];
    makeNickname(nomeCognome, nickname, nameNickname);
    printf("%s\n\n", nameNickname);

char *makeNickname(char *s1, char *s2, char *s3) {
    char *p = s1, *q = s2, *k = s3;
    while (*p) {
        if (*p != ' ') {
            *k++ = *p++;
        } else {
            *k++ = *p;
            *k++ = '(';
            while (*q) {
                *k++ = *q;
            *k++ = ')';
            *k++ = *p;
            while (*p == ' ') p++;
    return s3;


Your variable names are polyglot, cryptic, and inconsistent. Don't mix Italian with English — stick with English if you can. Instead of s1s3, pick more meaningful names. Instead of p, q, and k, it would have been better to use p1, p2, and p3 — but again, more meaningful names would be even better.

Function signatures

In modern C, you should mark strings as const if you're not going to write to them.

It is customary to put main() at the end, so that you don't need to declare your functions.


You aren't writing a '\0' terminator character to out, so your function won't work if the buffer is unclean.

Your solution is not robust to unexpected input, such as extra spaces at the end of s1.

Character-by-character manipulation isn't very readable. You wouldn't want to write code like this in a larger project. Instead, make use of the existing library functions for working with strings. (You have already written #include <string.h>, so why not?)

char *makeNickname(const char *names, const char *nickname, char *out) {
    const char *firstSpace = strchr(names, ' ');
    const char *lastName = firstSpace + strspn(firstSpace, " ");
    sprintf(out, "%.*s (%s) %s", (int)(firstSpace - names), names, nickname, lastName);
    return out;

Note that this solution, like yours, doesn't check for buffer overflow. It would be good practice to also pass the size of the buffer to enable such a check.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Corner case: minor bit that OP's code handles that this improved one doesn't is when names contains no spaces as firstSpace could be NULL. Suggest test for defensive programming or use strcspn(names, " "). Also: nice and complete. \$\endgroup\$ – chux - Reinstate Monica Nov 25 '15 at 21:57

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