Scope Resolution Operator in PHP


PHP, being a versatile and widely-used scripting language, comes with its own set of unique features. One such feature is the Scope Resolution Operator (::), which might seem a bit puzzling at first but is actually quite handy once you get the hang of it. In this blog post, we’ll explore what the Scope Resolution Operator is, how it works, and why it’s useful in PHP.

What is the Scope Resolution Operator?

The Scope Resolution Operator (::) in PHP allows you to access static properties and methods, constants, and overridden properties or methods within a class. It’s a way of telling PHP exactly where to find a particular variable or function. Let’s break it down with a simple example:

class Greeting {
    const WELCOME_MESSAGE = "Hello, ";
    public static function sayHello($name) {
        return self::WELCOME_MESSAGE . $name;

echo Greeting::sayHello("John"); // Output: Hello, John

In this example, self::WELCOME_MESSAGE uses the Scope Resolution Operator to access the constant WELCOME_MESSAGE within the Greeting class.

Accessing Static Properties and Methods

The primary use of the Scope Resolution Operator is to access static properties and methods. Consider the following example:

class Counter {
    public static $count = 0;

    public static function increment() {

echo Counter::$count; // Output: 1

Here, self::$count uses the Scope Resolution Operator to increment and access the static property $count within the Counter class.

Overriding Properties and Methods

When you have a child class that inherits from a parent class, you might need to override properties or methods. The Scope Resolution Operator helps in referring to the overridden members. Take a look at this example:

class Animal {
    public function speak() {
        echo "Animal speaks";

class Dog extends Animal {
    public function speak() {
        echo "Dog barks";

    public function animalSpeak() {
        parent::speak(); // Using the Scope Resolution Operator to call the parent class method

$dog = new Dog();
$dog->speak();       // Output: Dog barks
$dog->animalSpeak(); // Output: Animal speaks

In this example, parent::speak() uses the Scope Resolution Operator to call the speak method of the parent class (Animal) from within the child class (Dog).

Use Cases

  • Accessing Constants and Static Members: The Scope Resolution Operator is crucial for accessing constants, static properties, and methods within a class.
  • Maintaining Code Structure: It helps in organizing and accessing elements in a class, making your code clearer and more maintainable.
  • Overriding Properties and Methods: When dealing with inheritance, the operator facilitates the proper referencing of overridden members.


The Scope Resolution Operator in PHP might seem a bit intimidating initially, but it’s a powerful tool for navigating the scope of variables, constants, and methods within a class. Whether you’re working with static members or dealing with inheritance, understanding and using the Scope Resolution Operator can significantly enhance the clarity and functionality of your PHP code. So, the next time you encounter those double colons (::), remember, it’s your guide to precisely locating what you need in the vast world of PHP classes. Happy coding!