Type Guards and Type Assertions in TypeScript

TypeScript brings a wide range of powerful features to JavaScript, including static typing and object-oriented programming concepts. One of the key features that TypeScript offers are type guards and type assertions, which allow developers to ensure that certain conditions are met regarding the types of variables at runtime.

Type Guards

TypeScript provides type guards as a way to narrow down the type of a variable within a conditional statement. By using type guards, we can perform type-specific operations with confidence.

typeof type guards

The typeof type guard is used to narrow down the type of a variable based on its JavaScript typeof operator. For example:

function processValue(value: string | number) {
    if (typeof value === 'string') {
        // here, 'value' is inferred as a string
    } else {
        // here, 'value' is inferred as a number

instanceof type guards

The instanceof type guard is used to narrow down the type of a variable based on its constructor function. This can be especially useful when working with classes and inheritance. Here's an example:

class Animal {
    name: string;
    constructor(name: string) {
        this.name = name;

class Dog extends Animal {
    bark() {

function processAnimal(animal: Animal) {
    if (animal instanceof Dog) {
    } else {

In the above code, we use the instanceof operator to determine whether animal is an instance of Dog or not. If it is, we can safely call animal.bark().

Custom type guards

TypeScript also allows us to define custom type guards using type predicates. A type predicate is a function that returns a boolean value and asserts the type of an object. Here's an example:

interface Person {
    name: string;
    age: number;

function isAdult(person: Person): person is Person {
    return person.age >= 18;

function processPerson(person: Person) {
    if (isAdult(person)) {
        console.log(`${person.name} is an adult.`);
    } else {
        console.log(`${person.name} is a minor.`);

In the above code, the isAdult function is a custom type guard that checks if a person is an adult based on their age. By using the person is Person syntax before the function's return type, we tell TypeScript that this function acts as a type guard for the Person type.

Type Assertions

Type assertions, also known as type casts, are a way to override TypeScript's static type inference and tell the compiler about the actual type of a value.

Using the 'as' Keyword

The most common way to perform a type assertion in TypeScript is by using the as keyword followed by the target type. For example:

let value: any = "Hello TypeScript!";
let length: number = (value as string).length;

console.log(`The length of the string is ${length}.`);

In the above code, we assert that value is a string using (value as string). This allows us to access the length property without any compilation errors.

Non-null Assertion Operator

Another type assertion mechanism in TypeScript is the non-null assertion operator (!). It tells the compiler that a given expression is not null or undefined.

const elementById = document.getElementById('myElement')!;

In this example, we assert that the return value of getElementById is not null. If the element with the ID myElement exists, everything will work fine. However, if the element doesn't exist, we will get a runtime error.


TypeScript's type guards and type assertions significantly enhance JavaScript's type system and provide compile-time checks for better type safety. Type guards help narrow down the type within conditional statements, while type assertions allow developers to explicitly override the static type inference when necessary. By utilizing these features effectively, developers can write more reliable and maintainable code in TypeScript.

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