Using Array methods in a For loop

Hello everyone,
Right now I am working on a program that shifts elements in an array one position forward. I am doing it by making a copy of the input array, then using a for loop replacing each element of the copy (rotated[i+1]) with the 'previous' element from the input array(a[i]). But for some reason, even though to me it doesn't look like the input array is being edited at all, its values are changing each execution of the loop. I have added println's so I could help track the changes. Eventually, the input array (a) is full of the value that is in a[0].

Can anyone see where this is occuring? Thanks.

import java.util.*;
public class arrayRotater

public static void main(String[] args) {
int[] list = {3, 8, 19, 7};
System.out.println(Arrays.toString(list)); // [7, 3, 8, 19]

public static int[] rotateRight (int[] a)
int[] rotated = a;
System.out.println("Starting for loop
for (int i = 0; i < a.length - 1; i++)
System.out.println("The first element is " + a[0] + " for cycle " + i);
System.out.println("The second element is " + a[1] + " for cycle " + i);
System.out.println("The third element is " + a[2] + " for cycle " + i);
System.out.println("The fourth element is " + a[3] + " for cycle " + i);
rotated[i+1] = a[i];
return rotated;


  • javamike,
    The fly in the ointment is the statement:
    [code]int[] rotated = a;[/code]
    What that does, because an array is an object, is make the array "rotated" [u][b]point[/b][/u] to array "a" (which also points to array "list").
    Therefore the statement
    [code]rotated[i+1] = a[i][/code]
    moves element i to element i + 1 in the [b][u]same[/u][/b] array.

    What will fix things up is to [b]change[/b] the declaration of array "rotated" so that it is a [u][b]new[/b][/u] array of int(s) with a length equal to the length of the array "a".
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