I want to understand how the algorithm of selection sort sorts the given array, $$A[5]=\{5,9,11,10,2\}$$ Step -$1:-$ I compare A[0] with remaining elements of the array and since $A[4]<A[0]$ I swap them which leaves me with, $$A=\{2,9,11,10,5\}$$ Step-$2:-$ Repeating the similar procedure for $A[1]$ gives $$\{2,5,11,10,9 \}$$ Step-$3:-$ Repeating similar procedure gives $$\{2,5,10,11,9\}$$ And the for loop stops. But the array isn't sorted yet. Is there any mistake with my interpretation of the algorithm?

C program for selection sort:-

#include <stdio.h>

void selectionSort(int arr[], int n) {
    int i, j, minIndex, temp;
    for (i = 0; i < n - 1; i++) {
        minIndex = i;
        for (j = i + 1; j < n; j++) {
            if (arr[j] < arr[minIndex]) {
                minIndex = j;
        if (minIndex != i) {
            temp = arr[i];
            arr[i] = arr[minIndex];
            arr[minIndex] = temp;
  • $\begingroup$ You should give the pseudocode of the algorithm that you are calling "selection sort" (because it is unclear with your description). $\endgroup$
    – Nathaniel
    Mar 18 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


You are stopping the i loop too soon.

You should try it again and keep track of the value of $i$ and keep in mind that in an array of length $n$, indices of the array are between $0$ and $n-1$.

  • $\begingroup$ I tried out his code and gave as an input the array that was written in the question and the C code sorted it, I don't understand why he assumes that for loop stops there. (I added i<n, instead of i<n-1, but I think i<n-1 (theoretically changes) but didn't change computation, however of course i<n should be there) $\endgroup$
    – math boy
    Mar 18 at 22:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel,@math boy. I actually misunderstood the code and got my answer after some verification. I thank your answers and comments. $\endgroup$
    – RAHUL
    Mar 19 at 7:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @mathboy i < n is unnecessary: the last loop with i = n - 1 does nothing, because the last element is necessary the greatest. $\endgroup$
    – Nathaniel
    Mar 19 at 8:52
  • $\begingroup$ (@Nathaniel last element is necessary the greatest as well as the smallest left, more interesting in a loop establishing this.) $\endgroup$
    – greybeard
    Mar 19 at 11:14
  • $\begingroup$ @greybeard you are right, of course. My point was that the loop invariant being "Elements at indices between 0 and $i-1$ are at the right position", it was not needed to do the last loop, because the element at index $n-1$, being the greatest, is at the right position. $\endgroup$
    – Nathaniel
    Mar 19 at 12:21

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