c++ overload "<<" doesn't work for output "obja + objb"

c++ overload "<<" doesn't work for output "obja + objb"

I overload "<<" and "+" operators for my class. It works fine if I output single object using cout<<a;. But it fails when I output cout<<a+b;

g++ version: g++ (GCC) 9.2.0

class UTF8string{
        string data;
        UTF8string(string a);
        int bytes();
        int find(string a);
        int length();
        void replace(string a, string b);
        UTF8string operator+(UTF8string &a);
        UTF8string operator*(int a);
        UTF8string operator+=(const UTF8string& rhs){
            return *this;
        friend UTF8string operator!(UTF8string &a);
        friend std::ostream& operator<<(std::ostream& os, UTF8string &a);
        friend UTF8string operator+(int a,  UTF8string &other );
std::ostream& operator<<(std::ostream& os, UTF8string &a){
    os << a.data;
    return os;
UTF8string UTF8string::operator+(UTF8string &a){
    string b = data ;
    return UTF8string(b.append(a.data));


my test code:

    cout << "test + test2: " << test + test2 << endl; // doesn't work
    cout << "test contains: " << test << endl; // works well


testUTF8string.cpp:38:38: 错误:cannot bind non-const lvalue reference of type ‘UTF8string&’ to an rvalue of type ‘UTF8string’  
   38 |     cout << "test + test2: " << test + test2 << endl;  
      |                                 ~~~~~^~~~~~~

You're using references-to-non-const throughout.

That is a bad idea.

If you don't need to modify the object through a reference, the reference should be to const.

If your reference is not to const, temporaries cannot bind to it.

The return-by-value result of your operator+ is a temporary.

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Result of your overloaded operator+ in test + test2 is temporary value. Temporary value cannot be passed to function by non-const reference.

It can be fixed by using const reference:

std::ostream& operator<<(std::ostream& os, const UTF8string &a){
    os << a.data;
    return os;

UTF8string UTF8string::operator+(const UTF8string &a){
    string b = data ;
    return UTF8string(b.append(a.data));

It is good practice to always use const references when passing arguments which are meant to be read-only.

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Apart from the solution what @Lightness Races with Monica have suggested you can also overload the operator << for rvalue references like:-

friend std::ostream& operator<<(std::ostream& os, const UTF8string &&a);

It is sometimes useful to overload like this when moving is cheaper then copying. Or for some reason you want a different implementation in two cases.

NOTE: In case of operator << it doesn't make sense to do the oveloading as the data/object being passed to stream should be const

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