Is this list sorted?


  • Sorting is a common task that computers perform.
  • Sorting can be computationally expensive.
  • Determining if a list is already sorted is far less expensive and can save time.
  • Write a program to report if a list of user-input words is already sorted lexicographically.
  • Use “STOP” as a sentinel value to end user input.
  • Follow the problem solving steps to design a solution
  • How does your brain do it?


Test case 1:
Input: a,b,c (sorted list)
Expected Output: sorted
Test case 2:
Input: a,c,b (unsorted list)
Expected Output: unsorted
Test case 3:
Input: a (list with one item)
Expected Output: sorted
#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;
const string SENTINEL = "STOP";
int main()
	cout << "Gimme your list and I'll tell you if it's sorted (a-z): " << endl;
	// Look at the first word, remember it
	string first_word;
	cin >> first_word;
	string prev_word = first_word;
	string curr_word;
	bool is_sorted = true;
	while (curr_word != SENTINEL)
		// Look at the next word
		cin >> curr_word;
		// If the next word is not STOP and is "smaller" (i.e., comes before lexicographically) than the prev word
		if (curr_word < prev_word && curr_word != SENTINEL)
			// MAYDAY! Avast, list is not sorted!
			is_sorted = false;
		// we need to remember the current word when looking at the next word
		prev_word = curr_word;
		// Repeat until we see STOP
	// Tell if it's sorted
	if (is_sorted)
		cout << "It's sorted!" << endl;
		cout << "Not sorted!" << endl;
	return 0;
cs-142/is-this-list-sorted.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/14 11:44 by cs142ta
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