Define Function Argument and Return Types in TypeScript

Last updated on 5 Feb, 2022

Types of TypeScript variables can be explicitly set using annotations. Here is a TypeScript variable that is of string type.

let name: string;

Using the same annotation syntax, we can define the types of function arguments and return value. Here is a function that adds two numbers.

function add(a, b) {
  return a + b;

Above function can also be used to concatenate 2 strings. To avoid that, we can specify number type for the function's arguments and return value. This is how we do that in TypeScript.

function add(a: number, b: number): number {
  return a + b;

Above code says that function add() accepts only 2 numbers as arguments and return a number value. If we do not specify any types, by default the argument and return type will be any.

In the above typed function, we try to invoke the function with invalid arguments, eg: add(3, "a"), TypeScript will throw below error.

error TS2345: Argument of type 'string' is not assignable to parameter of type 'number'.

We can catch errors early and at the place of function definition, if we properly set the argument and return types.

Forcing a return value

When we define a return type for a function, TypeScript makes sure that a value of proper type is always returned.

function foo(): number {}

Above function foo() should return a number value. But it is clear that foo() is not returning any value. Therefore, TypeScript will throw below error.

error TS2355: A function whose declared type is neither 'void' nor 'any' must return a value.
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Joby Joseph
Web Architect