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Deconstructing Tuples in C#

In this article, I want to talk about deconstructing Tuples and provide you with a tip. Let’s do a quick recap and start by defining the Tuple type.

Tuple Type

Tuple can be thought of as a bag of variables that help us to return more than one value in a single method. The following example shows how you can declare a tuple variable, initialize it, and access its data members:

//creating a tuple
(string firstname, string lastname) = ("Engincan", "Veske");

//accessing its data members
Console.WriteLine("Full name: " + firstname + " " + lastname);

The default names of tuple fields are Item1, Item2, Item3 and so on. So, we don’t have to use tuples as named fields. See the following example for a demonstration:

var user = ("Engincan", "Veske");
var firstname = user.Item1; //"Engincan"
var lastname = user.Item2; //"Veske"


In the examples above, we declared a tuple and access its members. Unpackaging all the items in a tuple is called as deconstruction:

var (city, population, area) = QueryCityData("New York City");

Manipulating Decontruction of Tuples

C# allows us to manipulate the deconstruction process by implementing one or more Deconstruct methods in a class, a struct, or an interface.

Assume we have a class named Coordinate, which expresses an object’s location by X and Y axes:

public class Coordinate
    public double X { get; set; }
    public double Y { get; set; }

    //constructing a coordinate
    public Coordinate(double x, double y) => (X, Y) = (x, y);

Whenever we need to learn the X or Y axis of an object, we need to create a Coordinate object and access its X or Y property as follows:

var coordinate = new Coordinate(10, 10);

var xAxis = coordinate.X;
var yAxis = coordinate.Y;

As you can see, we declared two variables to hold X and Y axes. We can use the Tuple type to hold these two values in a single line, to do that we need to define a void Deconstruct method:

public void Deconstruct(out double x, out double y) => (x, y) = (X, Y);

The method returns void, and each value to be deconstructed is indicated by an out parameter in the method signature.

After adding this method to the Coordinate class, our class should be as follows:

public class Coordinate
    public double X { get; set; }
    public double Y { get; set; }

    public Coordinate(double x, double y) => (X, Y) = (x, y);

    public void Deconstruct(out double x, out double y) => (x, y) = (X, Y);

Notice, the Deconstruct method does kind of the opposite operation of the constructor method of the class as its name suggest.

Then, we can get the X and Y axes in a single line by using the power of the Tuple type:

var coordinate = new Coordinate(10, 10);

//This is possible, thanks to Deconstruct method
var (x, y) = coordinate;

This might not be important, or necessary (and it’s not for our example) but it’s good to have. You can define a Deconstruct method for a user-defined class and take advantage of the Tuple type.

Let’s take a look at a concrete example that can be used in our daily code. It’s a common task to get the current date time and its members, such as Year, Month, and Day. For such cases, we can create an extension method called Deconstruct with void as the return type as follows:

public static class DateTimeExtensions
    public static void Deconstruct(this DateTime dateTime, out int year, out int month, out int day) =>
        (year, month, day) = (dateTime.Year, dateTime.Month, dateTime.Day);

When we create such an extension method, the compiler will do the rest and see this method as a declaration of the deconstruction as tuples. So, we can deconstruct this method as follows:

var dateTime = DateTime.UtcNow;

//get year, month and day from the current date time
var (year, month, day) = dateTime;

This kind of use can be pretty helpful, instead of creating variables and assigning values to them one by one.


In this article, I wanted to provide you with a tip to deconstruct tuples for user-defined classes. It’s a good feature and can make your code more readable for certain cases.