Difference between break; and continue; in PHP

The topic of break and continue came up the other day and I thought it would make for a good blog post. You’re probably familiar with break moreso than continue because it is part of a switch statement’s syntax. Both break and continue can also be used inside of looping statements like while, for and foreach. According to php.net continue can also be used with switch statements because it is also considered a looping structure.

When used inside of looping statements, break and continue serve similar yet different purposes. break is for ending the loop indefinitely while continue is used to skip the rest of the current iteration and move on to the next iteration.

for ($i = 1 $i <= 100 $i++)
	if ($i % 2)
		echo 'Even: ' . $i . "n"

Find Bobby Fischer

$players = [
	'The Turk',
	'Paul Morphy',
	'Mikhail Botvinnik',
	'Deep Blue',
	'Bobby Fischer',
	'Alexander Alekhine',

foreach ($players as $player)
	if ($player == 'Bobby Fischer')
		echo 'Found him!'

You may have noticed that the continue and break were not really necessary in the examples above. If you did notice that, you would be correct! The truth is, you can usually write code without using continue or break just by writing a conditional statement (which you’d have to write anyway ;). break can play an important role when looping through large datasets and want to ensure that it stops as soon as possible instead of looping through all of the data. At the same time, you can usually accomplish finding data in arrays by other less system intensive methods.

Both break and continue also accept a single, optional argument that tells it how many levels of loops to skip or break out of. The default is 1 to either skip the current iteration or current loop.

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